Suddenly Solo (Temporarily)

Sad news from the home front – one of our closest friends, Choy, passed away last Wednesday. He had been struggling with complications from his bout with stomach paralysis, caused by his diabetes, and succumbed to cardiac arrest while resting after his dialysis session. He would have been 37 this September.

It was a no-brainer for the wife to travel home to Manila to see him off one final time. They were really close friends since college, had kept in touch long after they have graduated and gotten jobs. I became colleagues with him during my internship and my second to last job in Manila before moving to California. Choy was a great friend because he would always be sincere, honest and speak his mind openly, yet was a considerate person, making sure he would not be offensive. He was almost always positive, save for a few times that our human nature naturally balances ourselves out with moments of weakness. He was another brother to the wife, and we’d always make it a point to make some time whenever we had any to spare to watch a movie, have a meal and hang out after wards before going home.

Unfortunately, it had been a hectic week at work, and knew that my boss would not allow me to go on a three week trip home yet, so I had to stay in Alameda. It would be the longest stretch living here without her. Since we moved, the longest time we’ve had apart was a week, max. But I put on a really brave front, egging her to stay firm with her choice to go home, even though I had doubts if I can really last this three week stretch without her around.

I’ve never lived by myself during my early years as an employee, even though I longed to live by myself ever since I graduated from college. I had to support my mother, and after she sold our house, it was logical for her to stay with me to keep everything in budget.

Now here I am, living alone, temporarily. Not as easy as I imagined, but it’s been an eye opener. I suddenly remember a line from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman – “The price of getting what you want is getting what you once wanted.” Living alone here means doing it all. Meals don’t cook themselves, and a long, tiring day at work meant having to either grab take out or a TV dinner cooking in the microwave. There are days where cooking something quick and easy is doable. A stack of dirty laundry meant having to set aside some time to do them and fold (and press when there’s some more extra time). Face to face conversations are still the best form of communication and while today’s tech has made it possible despite physical separation, nothing beats what presence and contact brings to a conversation.

It’s been an eye opener, and I’ve never appreciated our mutual decision to have the wife stay home until now. Of course, being the breadwinner doesn’t preclude me from doing the chores. I still need to pull my weight around the house. Keeping our small apartment up can be a full-time job in itself.

So yeah. I am suddenly solo. Not much there, but I do guess it’s been a bit of an adventure of sorts.

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