Pena Lynn and I met each other in our first year in college. Our friends were friends and we all hung out together. She and I were both applying for acceptance to the same undergraduate program so we ended up spending a lot of time together .
Pena was the friend I would do silly things with. Some of the things I remember doing with her are:
1. During full moons, we would howl at the top of our voices in the curb just outside her dormitory. This was the University of the Philippines in the 1980’s – I don’t recall anyone stopping us – everyone else must have been busy fighting the Marcoses. To this day, Pena is still the first person I’ll think of in case there’s a full moon and there’s howling to be done.
2. We cut classes sometimes and would go Aberdeen Court, a few kilometers away from campus, for the cheap beer. We would walk back home drunk in the middle of the night. On hindsight, this was a very stupid thing to do. I could have been assaulted and Pena may not have been able to protect me :-).
3. We practice-kissed with each other so that we would have some experience when we had the opportunity to make out for real with other people.
It was all very innocent and such a long time ago. We’ve both been knocked around a few times since then but our friendship remains active and current.
Pena remains to be one of my very best friends. We keep in touch. But even if it takes months before we hear from each other, we don’t waste time re-establishing a shared context. It’s just there.
That’s she and I in the picture with both our hair shaven off, grinning at our shared coolness.
Between the two of us, Pena was the quite one. But, between the two of us, I see her as the brave and strong one. She doesn’t judge people. She accepts them for who they are even if who they are sometimes causes her pain.
She’s not afraid to follow her heart even if takes her through uncertain, dark roads. The possibility of the light at the end of the tunnel keeps her going.
Pena is now a Speech Patholigist based in Iowa. She works with kids. On the side, she practices tai-chi and makes one-of-a-kind cards that she sells over the web. She is married to Dave. Dave is a really, really good guy and a talented political cartoonist. I try not to cuss around him because he also looks like Jesus Christ. We've decided to keep him,
I’m writing about her because the thought of our friendship cheers me up.