SonicIt’s been quite awhile indeed. I was checking some of my friends with my Facebook account when suddenly I came across a profile of someone who was once and still close to me as a friend. He is a doctor now and I must admit that I am so proud of him having to reach his goal at last.

We were once best buddies until competition came our way. We were rivals so to speak but each time that I am to lead the race, I take a different path. From CAT to editorship and even to other extra-curricular activities, our names would always cross-path. The process was purely academic and friendly though.

Years before that, we would walk home together embraced as we talk. We would cross the same old wooden bridge each day and stop at the acacia tree acting as jeepney stop. He would take a ride afterwards and soon I would take my walk home only after seeing him take his ride. I tried to be a big brother even without him knowing it then.

I just live near the school so it was a habit for me to wait for classmates after school so I have someone to walk along with. My friend and I were both dreamers but in a different perspective. He was a practical dreamer who would dream the feasible dream while I was the idealistic type who would dream the impossible dream like a nut!

Each day, we would talk about concepts and principles. Imagine grade school students talking about cryonics perhaps or even life after death and how the planets were really formed. The discussions were awesome. His logic is based on published facts being a wide-reader while I reason on my own.

At one point, we would talk about our dreams after college. He is so good with science. No wonder that our science teacher then almost walked out because he seem to know more about the topic then than our teacher does. Hehehe. On my part, I was the happy-go-lucky side of the story. Amidst my good scholastic standing, I was the naughtiest, noisiest, and most active bully in class.

It was through him that I first flipped the pages of the Funk & Wagnall’s Animal Encyclopedias. He mastered almost all scientific names of animals. Even up to now, whenever I hear that word “Felis Domesticus” and “Canis Familiaris”, I would remember him being the Walking Encyclopedia. He’s damn good.

On the other hand, rather than specializing, I decided to be a Jack of all Trade. Well, I was never a Master of None anyway. Hehehe. I took arts, music, acting, writing and even voicing out people’s concerns – I was like the Complaint Desk Officer of the class. Nonetheless, I got citations and awards as well same as my friend.

Being good with debates and arguments, I was dreaming way back of being a lawyer or a politician some day. I wanted to have the leverage to change things. Otherwise, I thought of just being a doctor which is a generic dream of kids before so I can cure the sick and dissect more frogs. Hehehe.

Anyway, I had so many dream jobs then. I wanted to be an astronaut to check if the moon indeed is made of cheese!. I wanted to be an engineer too so I can prevent floodings in our village. At one point, I wanted to be a soldier so I can just shoot my enemies down. Lastly, I wanted to be a priest so I can have a car of my own!

Well, Most priests then would have their own cars so I thought it was an easy way to have a car by being one. I was funny way back and actually I am still a clown now at the age of 29. Anyway, I just wanted to make a difference then. I wanted to dream of something that others usually don’t dream of. I was weird, right?

Well, both of us were candidate for the top post for the CAT and we were as well competing for the editorship of our school paper during our high school days. I was doing well with the military club and both of us were writing good articles since we were freshmen. I was into competitions then. Thus, I was optimistic in my goal until I change path.

I was a regular columnist likened to Max Soliven for having to speak my mind so well. It was idealism perhaps that led me to start using the pen as a tool for reforms and changes. I should have just played along to charm my teachers and perhaps accept the fact that practices are practices but I was radical way back… and even now.

Thus, I cannot forget the day that I was castigated both by the school, by the editorial board and by the military club for having to write something about blind loyalty and my strong position against hazing and all forms of violence and intimidation to instill discipline and obedience. That day changed my life forever.

On our incorporation day while under the military training, I was made to suffer most because of my column. I was forced to drop my bid for the top post and leave the club. My class adviser was never on my side and my editor distanced herself from me. I was alone in a fight.

Most classmates whom I have just voiced out their concerns turned their back on me. Perhaps because all of us were achievers then and being associated with such issue would somehow affect someone’s academic standing. It was hard but I took my stand firmly and I never retracted.

The only advice I got then was to learn how to accept things as they were because no one can ever change old practices and traditions. He who turns against the tides to change the flow of things will always find it hard to succeed because the world lives in a status quo. There are things we cannot change.

Well, I never took that advice. As a result, I became a man who had to challenge almost all aspects of life just to prove that even a single man can make a difference. It is true indeed. That decision somehow alienated me for awhile but I was still excelling in academics and other activities then that I was able to renew ties with people.

That was the year that I was baptized as a rebel of such a stereotypical society. I created my own stream rather than going with the flow. I could have won so easily but I never saw victory in a mere conformity and compliance without having to validate if indeed what is perceived as acceptable with the society is just and right.

Same as how I liked Andres Bonifacio as my friend would end up being a fan of Emilio Aguinaldo, I ended up fighting alone and having none but principles while he won the charms and all that we both have dreamed for. In the end, he took the road straight towards success as advised by elders and made his dream real.

It took almost a decade for us to explore ourselves. At some point, I may say that we both ended up as victors. He is now a doctor doing well with his field while I took the path of advocating knowledge and bridging the gap via Information Technology where I have made my own achievements so far plus the various advocacies.

The decision that led me to change the direction of the competition landed us both as winners in different competitions but almost in a similar category we call “life’s struggles”. I am now married with a 9-year old son who I see as a far better person than me. I may have been subtle now as a rebel of life due to maturity but I am still the same person that I always am.

As for my friend, he remains single and active in his quest to live his life full. We both do blogging as well. He is a metaphorical writer same as me except that I am more tactless. Hehehe. After all those years and all those memories of the good old days, I can happily say that we did well and we did fine.

We’re more than a decade older now but still… the friendship remains in our hearts… The story of the two young boys crossing an old wooden bridge from school each day embraced with their dreams to make it big one day will always be a good story to keep and a good tale to pass on about taking one’s path with no regrets.