But D was anything but lonely. To the outside world, that is. He was a constant source of laughter. Barring the few times that he would sulk in a corner, nursing a bruised ego (the way a child does when the world doesn't seem to meet expectations), he would go around the office cracking jokes. Never mind that the jokes were usually on and about him.
When we learned of his passing, we were quiet for a while. We were clinging, perhaps, to our individual pictures of D. Disbelief turned to quiet remembrance, and eventually to happy memories. And then we were all laughing. For who could forget the day when ...
- D showed up with a tub of Star Margarine, when the boss asked him to buy a copy of (The Philippine) Star?
- He summoned an officemate named Elmer when D was asked to get stamps enough for "airmail."?
- He happily displayed $10, which he pocketed from among the stash of Salvation-Army shorts that eventually landed on the ukay-ukay?
- He came to a party armed with a mic and videoke CDs of Matt Monro and Engelbert Humberdinck?
Because D had no immediate family, the office was left to take care of all the arrangements when he died. When it was time to settle the bill, the hospital said they forgot to ask D to sign the Philhealth papers. A thumbmark would do, they said. Either that or the office would have to pay the whole amount.
And so, two hours after he expired, D thumbmarked his "release" papers from the cold stillness of the funeral parlor. Obviously, he remained a character to the very end.