Last night I dreamt of my friend Nazareno Convento. We were friends since first grade at Saint Mary Magdalene School. I remember as a child (around 10 or 11 years old) we used to do some foolish things, like walking from Ligtong to Cavite City by the beach, just for the fun of it. I remember both our parents were furious when they found out that we were there in Cavite City, because we didn't tell them about it. We were so afraid that time from our parents.
Nazareno was so funny, full of humor but at the same time I can tell that he was hiding some anger inside but just not showing it. The rest of the "barkada" (a group of friends) used to make fun of his name, because his name Nazareno means Nazarene and his surname Convento means Convent in English and what's even funnier was, he had dark skin like the "Black Nazarene" of Quiapo. So you see, nobody can be holier than that. But amidst all the jokes about his name and appearance, he just laughed about it. He knew that we didn't mean to hurt his feelings, just a barkada thing.
About the dream, I saw him inside a room full of people, who were supposedly my friends. I was looking at him from outside the room. He smiled and waved at me, then he stood and walked away from my sight, then I woke up. I don't know what it meant. But may be he was trying to tell me something?
The last time I saw Nazareno was 1998, if I remember it correctly. In 1999 I came here in Saudi Arabia to work and when I went back to the Philippines for my vacation in 2004, I called him up and talked to him. I invited him to visit me and to have a beer or two while talking about our lives etc... but he declined, I knew something was happening to him, it seemed like he has changed, not the Nazareno I knew. Even before I called him up, I kept on hearing a lot of bad things about him from our mutual friends, they said that he was addicted to drugs (Ice or Shabu) and was having some other personal problems.
My vacation was over and I didn't get a chance to meet him. I thought that may be he had already forgotten me. It was May 28, 2004, my flight back to Jeddah. After two weeks upon my arrival, I heard from my father that Nazareno has died. His father shot him twice in his room and then escaped. But then after a week, his father was shot in the head inside a cock fighting arena, probably in retaliation by other family members.
Wherever you are my friend, you are not forgotten.
* [Picture] Nazareno is at the last row second from left. I'm at the front row (sitting) third from right.