Sunday, May 28, 2006

Jail Time

He looked dirty. His face was really dark and he badly needed a haircut (and shampooing). Somehow his toenails managed to look clean. Aside from the pounds he gained, he was unmistakably the classmate I had 12 years ago.

I knew him even before I reached high school. His name preceded him. My Math tutor always raved about his knack for the subject that when I reached high school I wasn’t surprised at all. He was really good with numbers.

The room stank. There was no ceiling below the galvanized roof which made the atmosphere stifling. The walls were grubby and aside from a bench and a table, dilapidated furniture were scattered about. How on earth did someone like him end up in this Godforsaken place?

He wasn’t really everybody’s friend to start with. In high school I started to dislike him when he ate my dinner share during one of those stupid boy scout camp outs. I was so hungry that night that I left the camp and went home never to finish the activity. Somehow, others seemed to have their own personal grudges against him.

But that was high school. I never saw him again up until now, but talk about him impressing people with his math abilities in college came around, so I assumed he was doing well. The next thing I know was that he was behind bars for some drug trafficking case and now he was standing before me. He’s been in jail for two years now and only one person from the batch has visited him.

What was there to talk about but of old classmates, and then the similarity ends there. I wouldn’t think he’d be interested in my life, or my cat, so I just asked him what he needed while spending time inside. He apologized for looking the way he did as he wasn’t expecting us. He said he needed items for personal hygiene. And after a few more minutes of idle talk (because there was nothing more we could talk about), we bade him goodbye promising to visit the next day.

Before I left home the next day, I was thinking of what to give him to make his time inside worthwhile. I asked myself what would I want to have had I been in his shoes? And the answer came to me. Books. I found my old calculus book (its thickness can protect you from a gunshot) on a dusty shelf, and together with a condensed Reader’s Digest book, shoved it into a plastic bag.

He surprised us with a new haircut and cleaner clothes. More small talk followed until we realized that we were just repeating yesterday’s conversation. It was as if we were just waiting for visiting time to be over, and soon enough, the jail warden came in to tell us it was time to leave.

I don't know if he will ever have his freedom back. The law will be the judge of that. I just wish him safety and good health inside that forbidding place. Also, may he find all the solutions to the integral problems in my Math book, most of which eluded me. I'm quite sure he will.

There’s a lot to be thankful for.
hey you former HS classmates of mine who are silent viewers of this blog, go visit!


Blogger atticus said...

know what, you are one nice person. i am debating which one's easier: visiting a someone in jail or someone who's sick.

mina da bes pren has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and they're going to operate on her soon. i avoid seeing her because i know i will break down. i just call and try to be the macho i am not. there. for the first time i cry. op kors aym so skerd.

11:16 AM  
Blogger f.r.i.e.d.w.a.t.e.r. said...

*tap on the back*

6:48 PM  
Anonymous snglguy said...

This proves that being good at something back in school doesn't necessarily mean a great future.

8:14 PM  
Anonymous mei said...

i hope you give him the Book, doc... and prayers too.

4:49 PM  
Blogger tin-tin said...

you're so nice. and to think that you're not close when you were in highschool.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Rudy man said...

good work doc

11:39 AM  
Blogger Being Jerome Daclison said...

ok, first of all, i would like to say that what you did was nice. you have given antonio the privilege of feeling loved and cared for even for just a moment. that's something special.

what really struck me is your observation about "really having nothing to talk about". i share the same observation (or sentiment?). i dont really like visiting my highschool classmates whom i once was close with. i just get so tired that everytime we see each other, its always a trip down memory lane circa 1987. who says we always need to go on a nostalgic trip? sigh.

na-miss ka namin, dowkie!

2:10 PM  
Blogger duke said...

huy, parang ang bait bait tuloy ng labas ko. wala lang ako magawa sa buhay kaya kung sino sino hinahagilap ko na lang. hahahaha! di ako ganun kabaet.

atticus. sows, puntahan mo na yung kebigan mo. baka di mo na makita ulet. multuhin ka pa nya. maskerd ka lalo.

friedchiken. pat lang ba yun? parang batok ah!

snglguy. tama ka dyan. pagdating sa totoong buhay eh iba na talaga ang laro. nasa diskarte na lang yan.

mei. i gave him the book. i have no use for it na eh. hehehee. prayers....sige na nga! pinaalala mo pa.

tintin. i'm not that nice. i really didn't like him in highschool. kinain nya yung liempo kong dinner eh. waaaaa!

rudy man. good work na ba yun? lampas langit na ba? tae ka. hahaha.

jeromedaclison. everybody needs to feel loved. onga, after all these years there seems to be no common ground between old high school classmates. kse iba iba na ang napuntahan eh. di na makarelate. wala na din makwento. pero good friends will remain good friends.

8:21 PM  
Blogger tin-tin said...

hahaha. tingnan mo. kinanin na nga nya liempo mo, binisita mo pa rin. idol! :)

11:40 AM  
Blogger gwapo_na_baktin said...

way to go doc.

on the entrance of a prison near our office is a small sign that reads: Prison are People. i believe that when we look beyond the sin and look after the welfare and redemption of the sinner, we could make this world a better place to live in.

o parang essay ko sa Grade VI :)

1:11 PM  
Blogger j said...

grabe, you're so kind to do such a remarkable thing. galing mo, bilib ako sayo :)

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Toe said...

Hey, that's not easy to do... going to jail to visit an old friend who you don't even like much. That shows compassion. I went to a jail here once and I didn't like it. But it was my job. I had to do it while you didn't have to. I think that though you didn't have much to talk about, I'm sure he appreciated what you did.

9:58 PM  
Blogger Lene said...

This is a touching story for me. And that's a good deed, Duke! upon reading this, I realized how I've been so distant from my highschool barkada or classmates.

And it dawned on me how a visit from least expected people will have a deeper effect on someone. And admire you for that because it showed that you were not judgemental of the person that he was but is hopeful for the person that he will become in the future.

I'd say, go visit him as often as you can. =)

9:01 AM  
Blogger Lene said...

sorry for the "judgemental" thing-y. judgmental it is! :P

9:03 AM  
Anonymous van said...

Kung hindi pa siya nakulong, siguro hindi mo na siya patatawarin sa pagkain ng dinner mo sa boyscout ano? :P


pareho kayo ni schroo *hugs*

12:47 PM  
Anonymous abstabs said...

oo nga... di naman pupuntahan ni Duke si antonio pag di nakulong yon eh...Di naman nice 'tong si Duke...naging curious lang siya kung ano na ang nangyayari sa taong sobrang galing sa Math na kina inggitan niya nung h-school... bwahahaha

See you soon Doc! tell me all 'bout ur visit to anton.

2:08 PM  
Blogger chumsychums said...

waw. baet naman. pag ako ba nakulong bibisitahin mo ren ako? ngyahahaha!

4:16 AM  
Blogger kero said...

agree ako kay abstabs! bwahahaha!

duke, dito pala si bengers. kita tayo before you leave.

8:40 PM  
Blogger duke said...

tin-tin. oo no! nahilo hilo ako nung night na yun kse wala akong dinner. pero sige na nga, bigay mo na sa kanya.

gwapo_na_baktin. ang lalim! di ko maarok. at essay mo yan nung grade 4 pa sa lagay na yan? panalo ka!

jairam. huy wag nga. wag ka nga mabilib. eh nakibisita lang naman ako eh. wala lang ako maisulat sa blog kaya sinulat ko na yung pagbisita ko. pero kung madami siguro nangyayari sa buhay ko e di ko bibisitahin yun. hahahaha.

toe. it's easy! di naman kami nagsumbatan or ano eh. di naman kami nagsuntukan noon. sama lang ng loob ko at di naman nya alam na sumama ang loob ko. nabusog lang sya at nagutom ako. pero kung tatanungin mo sya di nya alam yun. kaya ok lang kami nung nagkita kami.

arglene. hehehe. natouch ka ba? baket? ha? go visit him often? eh wala na nga kami mapagusapan eh. mabibilang lang kami ng butiki sa kisame. tama na yun. once is enough for a lifetime, wahahaahahah. sige, once is enough for now. sana naman lumabas na agad para wala nang second visit.

van. tama ka dyan. tanim lang nang tanim. hanggang magkabunga at ugat.

abstabs. hahah. kilala mo nga ako. hay mga tao talaga. ewan ko.

kero. onga kita kita tayo nina bengorts at miss ko na yun. teks nyo ko.

1:51 AM  
Blogger cruise said...

a kindness worth emulating...

i'm sure your friend is very very happy to have you as his friend..

10:26 AM  
Blogger gwapo_na_baktin said...

dili oi. :D

i remembered my first essay in grade IV about 'saving mother earth.' "plant trees. collect all the garbage we see on the streets and with everyone doing his own share, we can make this world green again."

15 years or so later, i figured out that this is easier written/ said than done.

"parang essay ko sa GRADE IV" i always use this phrase to refer to the innocence/idealism that we may have had in our lives.

somehow, we hold on to these (or some of these) idealisms . because in this crazy world, these are the ones that ultimately make sense.

grabe. ang dami ng traffic sa blog mo pare. hehehe.

3:02 PM  
Anonymous mei said...

huy, update na dok. bawal ang tamad! =)

4:07 PM  
Blogger duke said...

cruise. di kami prends. high school classmates lang. hehehe.

gwapo_na_baktin. pang blog entry na yang comment na yan ah! madamdamin ka! hehehe.

mei. eto na update na po.

6:39 PM  
Blogger vina said...

no matter how much you downplay it duke, that was still a nice thing to do. beyond the small talk, i'm sure he appreciated your visit.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Tani said...

don duks, there are times talaga na you're an angel.. pero most of the time... hehehe.. wag na >;)
uy, ang dami nagbabasa ng blog mo!... take note: may silent readers ka pa!... ako mga kapatid ko na nga lang nagbabasa ng blog ko, pahirapan pa pagpilit sa kanila.. ha! :) pero ok lang... hindi naman ako kasing-galing mo... anyway, kalungkot naman ito entry na toh...

11:30 AM  
Anonymous pinoy said...

Siguro sa pagbalik mo, para di naman sad ang ang lakad mo puntahan mo naman ang mga umasensong HS mates mo.
If you ca't imagine a HS mate who is so good to end up in jail. One doctor-lawyer-friend once said to me, the most vulnerable people to get a suit are doctors, if you havent had one you are just lucky at this time, Because in your medical career you will get at least 3.
But in your nonmedical part of life, particularly this blog
I just want to give an unsolicited advice, next time do not mention the persons name in your blog because the case is still in court. The person still has the right to be protected from publicity in the meantime that he is detained for being a suspect of an unbailable offense which I am will not mention. Your blog is doing well in attracting readers but you are not spared to be a responsible publisher because you are identified by your pictures and circumstances you had been posting.
The person in jail, YOU, and the persons you have been mentioning and responding to YOU are real and can be proven to be such.
This is just an advice and not a threat can it can be a warning because I just happen to be connected to the person you mentioned.
We are all vulnerable to go at least in a gruelling fund-raising- games of our unfriendly lawers.

10:53 AM  
Blogger duke said...

pinoy. thanks for the advice. i deleted the name. am i safe now?

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous pinoy said...

not quite doc, there are still people who responded to your blog and had mentioned the person's name, with that it just shows that the consequences of publishing our client's name without first considering the legal implications has began to take effect. Our goal of trying keep him from public eye has been violated.Anyway dont you worry I'll take for now that you did not do this in bad fait i.e. with no intension disgrace your classmate, you are not likely to taste the consequences of your act. Our goal for now is to take all legal means to protect the rights of all persons, suspect, guilty or are free from the acts of others and injustice of our society. They have suffered enough please, if you pity them just help them but be "silent".

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Duke, i am one of your silent readers and what you did in visiting your "clssmate" is highly commendable...
moreover,don't get scared with the threat of a lawsuit thingee!!!... that's B- - - -!!!! what you did was in GOODFAITH!!!

4:30 PM  

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