I arrived quite late for Namtab Pots’ birthday party. I was told that some of my closest high school friends were coming and I haven’t seen them in a long time, and I needed to see these people. Namtab Pots, RBTDS, JAPT, Ruth Marx, and Renton have been some of my closest friends since high school, but in the recent events Renton hasn’t been showing up. We haven’t seen him since 2004 but Ruth Marx did see him once back in 2005 in Puerto Gallera, and he said that Renton was terribly inebriated and dancing on the sand, totally red, half-naked, and seemed to be in another plane of consciousness. No one has heard anything about him ever since and he wouldn’t reply to any text message or email. He would occasionally send us some new cellphone number, which would again be unattended after a week. By 2007 he just suddenly vanished, physically and from our collective consciousness. But this time, Namtab Pots said, Renton suddenly promised he would come via a Facebook message. We all waited in anticipation at what sort of person Renton is now after five years—Is he now totally wealthy and would just attend to patronize us lowly employees? Is he now married with five kids? Is he now a druggie? Is he now a girl with huge boobs?
In he came, wearing a black beret. He was thinner than before, but not asthenic enough to be categorized as AIDS cachexia. “What happened to you? Are you now wealthy and just attending this party to patronize us lowly employees? Are you now married? Five kids? A druggie? Huge boobs?” we asked in quick succession.
“Nawala ako nung 2007,” he started. “Dahil pumasok ako nun…”
“Sa rehab?!?!” we gasped collectively. But it was a totally fake gasp. Because we knew. We knew all this time. How dare he not share those drugs, I thought in annoyance.
“Pumasok ako… sa seminaryo,” he said.
This was totally out of character, but Namtab Pots suddenly related that back then Renton was corresponding with him regarding the prospect of being a priest. This was quite surprising, as I would have thought it were more possible for him to be, let’s say, dead than being a priest. But apparently back in 2007 he had decided to be a Jesuit and entered the seminary where he stayed for an entire year, with no connection whatsoever to the outside world. This of course begged the question:
“ Bakit ka lumabas? Dahil sa tawag ng laman?” one of us asked. I think it was me.
We then proceeded to a coffee shop where we interrogated him on his missing five years. I noted that his five years were very interesting, trying, significant, full of relevance. That in those five years he found love, lost it, found love again in the arms of God, but decided to rediscover Him elsewhere through a more mundane existence. That those five years were dedicated to finding clarity, and a sense of self, and a sense of hope. That those five years are, in short, very bloggable. Write a blog, Renton, write a blog.