Early on a clear Saturday morning, we all met, the six of us, on the lobby of what was once our stomping ground more than 30 years ago. We and all agreed to take this trip outside the city to visit a an old friend. Vanna was buried beside her father in Imus, Cavite, where the Viratas have allocated a quiet space for their dearly departed kin.
We arrived on schedule to be welcomed by good old Igto, who had graciously attended to the domestic minutiae of the Virata household all through those days when we were growing up. Igto was always in the background making sure the house ran smoothly, appointments were kept, meals were served smoothly and divinely. And when it was time to leave for the theater, the grand old CCP, we were all hustled dotingly into the waiting cars.
We recalled the days leading to April 26, 2011, and the aftermath. There was nothing laid out on how things were to be done. Vanna could not bring herself to discuss the possibility of dying and so, she did not leave any instructions on how she was to be buried.
Looking at the marble obelisk under which her ashes have been installed, I would surmise that Vanna would be no less than pleased. This is a most elegant grave. It stands out a solitary defiant structure against the quietness of its surroundings. There on a silver plaque is her handwritten signature with the characteristic flourish. I could almost see her write it out with her favorite ink pen. And on the bottom right was the passage she wrote as the editor of our high school graduation year book. These were the lines that expressed understatedly our unspoiled aspirations and the richness of our collective experiences together in the hallowed halls of our alma mater.
Postscript: Of course, it would have been inhospitable of Igto not to offer us refreshments of Imus’ finest rice cakes, the kutchinta and the bibingkang malagkit. He had laid out a makeshift table for us under the sampaloc (tamarind) trees, complete with white table linen and china, like old times. Yum!