When I was 12 years old and in seventh grade, I sat at the fifth seat (the furthest from the front) of the middle row of the classroom. In front of me was a nondescript girl with bushy hair and metal teeth, who seemed to have a number of things in her pencil case. During the first few days of school, I ended up tapping her on the shoulder and borrowing a pencil from her. Little did I know that that very act would seal a friendship (a bestfriend-ship?) with this girl that would last ten years and still counting.
So we've gone through teenage crushes (ahem ahem, Dante?) and boyband phases (Backstreet Chronicles, anyone?), dreaming and wishing for something other than the boundaries of the world called Miriam College High School, crying over the telephone and on each other's shoulders. We've been through stupid moments - like banging her head against the bulletin board during a particularly hilarious joke - and stupider moments, amazingly profound times, and in-betweens: dinners and lunches and late-night talks over drinks about love and career, family and boys, the flab on our tummies and the cut of our skirts. She's taught me about looking good and being good, and I'd like to think I taught her something about the world. She's made me laugh more times than I can remember, and we've been summer sisters ever since.
We've survived geographical separation (Davao, and now Singapore) and pursuing our separate careers and our separate dreams. We've survived (ex!) boyfriends and break-ups, arguments and long days of silences and petty irritations. We've gone through periods of jealousy and periods of extreme happiness, whether together or apart. We know each other's secrets and palm lines, inane details about each other than only years of being friends can accomplish. And I know that ten years down the line, her kids and my kids will be the best of friends and no matter where we are in the world, we will still be able to find each other. And someday, when we're little old ladies, we'll still be as svelte and sexy as our respective mothers (yay for genetics) and meet up for lunches and dinners and late-night drinks and just chat the hours away, because hey, that's always what being best friends are for.
So here's a happy 24th to you, Jilly dearest - I love you for what you were before, and I love you for who you are now, and what our friendship will be in the future. I'm happy you have Paolo by your side and that you are finally getting what you've always wanted. I hope you see the world through Bentley's eyes, but I hope that you also remember that what your eyes capture and imprint in your memory will be infintely more beautiful and more transient than any photograph can ever hope to preserve.