By RAYMUND B. VILLANUEVA
This is the first sunset after we buried you earlier today, Randy.
How fine that you were able to inform your siblings beforehand that you preferred to be interred under the ground so you will once again be one with the soil from whence we sprung. They obliged.
Your grave is on a nice spot. It is on top of a rise that faces west. There would be a million sunsets like this for you from hereon. You will share it forever with your parents who were buried nearby.
In the mornings, look to the east. Glorious lightbursts will greet you just as our beloved Sierra Madre offers the rising sun from its majestic peaks. How many times have you scaled them just to be among the first to greet the new day dawning?
To your right is the swift-flowing Pinacanauan and to your left is our mighty Cagayan. They meet hardly a kilometer away. We swam them both in our youth, as much a part of our lives as the Ybanag blood that flows/ed in our veins.
Yes, both rivers are flowing still, however much some people’s greed wishes to dam them or turn them to mud. Their waters flow ever northward, ever sure that, at the end of their travels, a wider and freer ocean awaits.
Raymund and Randy are childhood friends and remained friends until his untimely passing. (Click here to read more about Randy Malayao)