New Changes

Last Wednesday was the gathering for the band before the school year starts. It kind of feels weird to be talking about this again after being away for 3 months.  So many things have happened this summer that I couldn’t write about (as I always do every vacation trip). It would be nice if I remembered all the exact thoughts I had during the vacation because I felt like I’ve learned a lot and have changed a bit from that time. But anyway, I’m back to where I was before—the band.

It’s not exciting when I thought about it at first, to be honest. When the band arranged to finally meet, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. I’ve been imagining what it would be like to come back to the band and all sorts of scenarios played out, but rather than be excited, I was anxious. I’ve not had any human contact other than my parents for almost the whole month of October. My reality for the past few weeks have been school, exercise, and coming up with things to draw and I got so used to it that when socializing and playing music with others was mentioned, my stomach just froze. I was just nervous for unknown reasons. I didn’t want to go but I know I’ll regret it if I don’t go. That sort of dilemma drove me mad. I think not knowing what to expect kind of had something to do with that. It’s a new year and I totally feel like I’m a new person from who I once was in the band before, so I was just in a lowkey state of panic. And just before I left the house, I put songs in my iPod and the moment I disconnected it from the computer, instead of having the newly downloaded songs to listen to, the iPod reset itself and deleted everything so I was just not in the best mood at all.

But as I got off that taxi car, there was Jonathan at the front gate getting his drum set and he greeted me with his usual enthusiastic tone.  At that moment, I felt excited. Of course I loved that he was there since I play with him best, but something about his familiar voice just made me feel at ease. And when I got the youth room, Prasanna, Sebastian, and Christelle were already there. Before I could even grasp the situation, Christelle had called out my name and ran to me with open arms. She hugged me and I just felt so happy.

Around the three months of summer, I had crazy affection for them. Since my family went to the Philippines, I felt like I was separated from my family, even though technically, I was there to see my family—biological extended family, that is. And although it’s good to have met my cousins, uncles, aunts, and especially my sister again, during that time, I just missed my church family so much. Maybe because for the last months of Wildfire last school year, I’ve grown so close to them that I just felt like they were so much more to me than my actual (extended) family.

Whenever I listened to my recordings of the band, I would always hear Christelle calling my name. I think that is by far one of my favorite things to hear. Just her calling my name in all sorts of tones—listening to them felt unreal. So when I heard it again yesterday, I felt like I was dreaming. I was seeing her again. I was hearing her voice again.

Another thing that felt unreal was that I immediately noticed a somewhat subtle change in the three of them (Prasanna, Sebastian, and Christelle). Jonathan, who always wore some kind of dark hoodie and with those spiky earrings, didn’t really change much. He was still his old, laid back, teasing self. Since he was the first person that I saw, I thought things have come back to the way it used to be. But the three looked older somehow. Their features seemed to be more mature than from what I remember them to look like. Christelle has gotten prettier—her feminine figure and beauty becoming even more refined than before. The used to be 13 year old (now 14) Sebastian looks like a 16 year old already, and his voice seemed to sound deeper, too. And the biggest improvement of all that I’ve noticed was Prasanna. Honestly, I noticed even before seeing him that he has changed a lot since for the past three months since he was part of the spamming noise in the Wildfire chatroom. But after seeing him, his scrawny self didn’t seem to be present anymore. He seemed to be finally getting some masculine mass in his body. However, he is still crumped up when he plays guitar so that’s something that hasn’t really changed for him. The main thing that struck me is although I’m still meeting the same people, I can’t help but notice the slight change in the air. It’s really a new chapter—actually, the start of the final chapters if you will. I could almost feel the fireworks and the sadness that follows after it—as predicted from my prophetic 2017 New Year’s Eve summary. Time is flowing by so fast.

There was no doubt a big change right on the very first day. Jonathan brought his drumset—something we never had for the new-ish youth room. There were two new members, Chinaza, a really shy and quiet Nigerian girl, and Alben, a guitarist from India. I don’t really have that much info on them yet because another thing that was so new was that Jordan, our leader, brought guests. FCC people. Counterflow singers. The moment they (about 7 of them) came in the room, I think I pretty much froze because they were the people I least expected to come. I thought I won’t be seeing a group of Filipinos again for a long time after coming back here, but I guess not. Anyway, it’s nothing negative. It was nice to have them there talk about what worship was to them. I think their testimonies were good and very much needed for the coming New Year to encourage everyone do well in their areas.

And so after the testimonies, we jammed to about three or four songs. Everything seemed good so far. I had no problems with everyone yet—probably because Jonathan and I pretty much carried the whole band. There were about six guitarists, 7 or 8 singers, a keyboardist, then the two of us (who were the loudest). All was good. All was fun. I don’t know if Counterflow singers are just guests or they’re actually gonna join us the whole year, but even with that many guitarists, I don’t how we’ll manage to have that much people on the actual day Wildfire starts. Oh well, at least I have a steady position on the band by being the bassist.

When everything was finished and we were finally unpacking, Christelle came up to me and told me we’re going to be riding the taxi together. Even though we were doing that just 3 months ago, I was filled with so much nostalgia as if it happened so long ago. I was just so happy that I didn’t have to ask.  She already knew I would ride with her. That just warmed my heart.

We rode home with Gabriel, but when he got off his stop, Christelle and I started talking about things. She asked me about what I did during the summer and I said we went snorkeling. I also said that I had my period at that time, and from that point we just started talking about different kinds of period tools. I didn’t even know why she started elaborating on that. I felt awkward the whole time we talked about it, especially when she was explaining how the European’s cup tool worked. I mean it was okay if we talked about it privately, but the taxi driver was right there and he probably hears everything we say. Anyway, as I used to think before, when girls start talking about periods so openly as if it’s nothing, that means you’re pretty comfortable with each other. Anyway, as that topic died down, I gave her the bracelet that I bought on Cebu for her. She was happy to have received something from me and really liked it since she liked bracelets. I knew she’d like that so I’m pretty happy myself that I got her the right gift. Then we started talking about the band and all that. From what I remember, she was talking about how her brother doesn’t understand how John was able to look up to him as an inspiration because they weren’t really close. Because to her, everyone would understand that if she said I was an inspiration to her, they would understand because we were actually close. When she was saying those words, I felt really… I don’t know, touched, I guess? Because she was basically saying right in front of me that she looked up to me and we were close friends. Even now, I still can’t believe I’d be at this point to hear this from someone. God is great.

I don’t know how the conversation exactly went, and I’m probably wrong with the sequence of this already because I can’t remember it well. But anyway, I was talking about how I’m going to try to teach everything I knew to everyone because I’m gonna go away next year, and when I said that, she was making that paralyzed face again—the same face she made when I confessed Edwin’s love for her. My voice had gotten really low when I said that because I realized that the reality was coming sooner than ever. I can tell she was saddened by that thought, too. She didn’t want to discuss the goodbyes yet, but she then babbled on anyway about what was gonna happen when I go away. She said who’s going to play with her and know the right feeling of every song that goes well with her? Who’s gonna fill in my place—the place that filled almost every area of the band? I just told her to pray about it because I honestly don’t have the answers to that. My only goal is to pass on what I’ve learned. And with that in mind she told me, “What if I learn from you? What if you teach me?” I don’t know if she was just saying that or she was actually encouraged because of the testimonies of the Counterflow leader, but either way, I thought it was a pretty good idea. I won’t be harsh to her as with everyone else and it will be easier for me to explain things to her. The things I learned from PD 101 will probably come to light with her. I can be the Sejeong to her Sohye.

However, pessimistic me thinks she won’t actually go through with that even though I badly want to do it… If we go through with it, we’ll be able to spend more time together and we’ll be even closer than before. And if she is able to play instruments and sing and teach future band members because of me, then I’ll know my work for the Lord wasn’t futile. But my fears just get the best of me sometimes. I guess we’ll just have to see if that actually happens. And if that was supposed to happen, I should teach her before December because apparently our family is moving house and I don’t know how long I can keep riding home with her. I don’t know how far I’ll be from her. I don’t know how many days we can even be together. But I want to maximize everything this year. Wherever she goes, I will go.

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