November 7, 2008

Life and Death

It was the onset of the '90s, and in our aquarium of a workplace, I was the youngest. I was slowly building up a library of sorts, and the guys at the office had their recommendations. From Nini, it was Kurt Vonnegut; from Achilles, Joyce Carol Oates. Mr. Moss introduced me to the works of Saul Bellow and Nadine Gordimer; Tata to Michael Chrichton.

But it wasn't an introduction to the Michael Chrichton of dinosaurs, deadly strains and scientist-as-God plots. That would come later, when I needed page-turners to stay awake on days (and nights) that I needed to be awake. Instead, it was to a metaphysical, and equally engaging Chrichton. In Travels, he wrote of journeys made and taken: journeys that went beyond the physical.

Michael Chrichton is dead, and this isn't meant to be a tribute. I am hardly a sci-fi fan, after all. It's just that with his passing, I remember Tata, she who gave me Travels. I worked with her again in two other publications, during which she progressed from colleague to commuting buddy to confidante. We took journeys physical and spiritual, journeys that took us from Edsa to Banahaw, from the conference room to past lives and lost loves.

Alas, the road would soon end. Tata lost out to breast cancer almost ten years ago, just as Christmas was setting in. As I blew the dust off the book that could very well have been the story of our friendship, a yellowing piece of paper fell. On it is a verse the source of which I had already forgotten:

Death is the passing of life
And life
Is the stringing together
of so many little passings

2 comments:

Kayni said...

i like the verse very much. it gives me a feeling of solemness and quiet realization that we're just here for a short time. i hope everyone realizes that before this short time will pass.

Rudy said...

It may not be a tribute but it's still a very touching piece about a friend long gone to the next life...