On the Arbitrariness of Affection


(ELIAZO Hall) Ah, the good old dorm days. (Image sourced from Google.)

Last night, I had dinner with my former college roommate Bodee.

Currently, the two of us are the only ones in residence in the Philippines out of our original quartet. Nikki is in France while Paula is in the United States. This game of migratory musical chairs has been going on since the four of us left college. Over the last decade, there have been precious few occasions when all four of us were in the same country together.

None of that has dulled the friendship however. Despite wide divergences in careers, lifestyles, locations and statuses, we’ve never quite managed to drift out of each other’s orbit. The same gravity that pulled us together when we were barely 17 continues to hold us together now across much vaster reaches of space.

And it’s a bond that I treasure not just for its longevity but also for its enigma. We were, and we still are, four wildly different personalities. We could have very well hated each other when we first met. That we didn’t is the minor miracle—that we became life-long friends is the major one.

And the fact that affection can be so arbitrary consoles me somewhat. In an age where everything is the product of choice, where relationships are weighed in a calculus of value and convenience, it’s reassuring to know that some things can still be the outcome of history and contingency and that we can still be the recipients of graces unexpected and undeserved.

So, Nikki, Paula and Bodee: this one’s for you—in gratitude for a grace still unexpected and still undeserved.

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