On February 25, 2008, one of my best friends, Jay Tan, joined our Heavenly Dad. On April 4, his family and friends celebrated his 40th day. (I’m not exactly sure why we do this. Is it rooted in Catholic theology? Can someone tell me?) So I joined my very good college friends Danny, his girlfriend Michelle, and Mic, for the celebration at his home.
The first thing I thought to myself upon reentering the Tan residence was this: Wow, how often am I going to visit this place now? While I spent a lot of time there in the course of Jay’s and my almost decade long friendship, I’m not exactly sure how to feel about going there now that he’s gone. Unlike Mic and Danny, who were really tight with his family, I was just, well, Ganns, the guy who writes songs with Jay and takes him to the car wash.
Anyway, I came in and saw his urn. It was this white marble jar-type thing, and it was elegant and beautiful. On top of it, a rosary. Beside it, para hindi naman lumampas ng langit si Jay – ay, teka, nanjan na pala siya – were cigarettes and chocolate. I put a lollipop on top of his urn as a present from Nathan.
Of all the strange things to happen, I then ran into Architect Rose Marie Bautista, former dean of the DLS-College of Saint Benilde’s School of Design and Arts. Architect Bautista and I worked together for five years before I left DLS-CSB; she retired soon afterward. She was looking extremely well, and was there because she and Jay’s mother, Tita Evelyn, were schoolmates at Saint Theresa’s. (Lord, I hope I got their school name right.)
Shortly afterward, I sat down with Mic, Danny, and Michelle. Jay and I used to poke fun at Danny and Michelle, he for his awful singing voice and she for being taciturn verging on wallflower. Now that Jay was gone, I sure as heck wasn’t going to heckle Michelle alone, so I resigned myself to liking her. Hahaha. Truth be told, I think she’s perfect for Danny. (Of course, if Jay were here, we’d both laugh at their expense.)
After dinner, we escaped to Jay’s room. It was eerily clean. (His last few days had him confined there, so naturally, it had to be kept in immaculate condition so he wouldn’t get infections and stuff.) His DVD collection was still there, his magazines, his colognes. It was as if he’d just stepped out to smoke a cig on his balcony, or head off to the radio station for a Saturday night gig.
We were there reminiscing about our times with Jay – no tears, thank God! – when Danny and Mic announced they brought along the DSWS logbooks. I begged Danny to get them so we could reminisce further, and for thirty goshawful minutes, we were taken back to a time of innocence and virginity. (Well, at least for me.) The highlight for me, of course, was the comic series I created titled Kelvin and Rob, a spoof of Calvin and Hobbes, in which Jay featured prominently.
The night ended with us going our separate ways, and I drove home in silence. Upon my arrival at home, it was then that the floodgates opened. Heaven had Jay, and now, Mic, Danny, Michelle and I have each other. I said a quick prayer for the three of them, and asked Jay to keep an eye out for us. It was time to let go, and that night, I did my best to do so.
Mic, Danny and Ganns