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An Empty Space

There comes a time in your life wherein you regret the passing away of a special person. You begin thinking "I wish I had..." or "I wish we could've...". But when the person's not here anymore... Your world feels like literally ending.

In my case, this already happened twice. Two of my very close friends were both killed by an accident. It was a horrible feeling and I would not want any of my friends, family, or relatives to go through that pain.

But time is here again to test me. Pushing me to the edge.

This story is about Leonard. He was special to me. We met when we were only 17. We were young and in love. But before we were in love, he used to flirt with me and telling how much he likes me. I was battling with my sexuality at this time. So he frequently tells me how I'm the best guy he never had.

That didn't last very long. We finally had each other. We frequently break up and makeup afterward. We've been together for years – most of our college years actually.

Unfortunately, we never lasted together. It really hurts. Seeing him with another person who seemed to make him smile a lot.

Despite that, he remained special to me. Does he feel the same way?

Fast forward in the middle of this year, I've met someone I really liked. It was a subordinate from work. But that is a story for another day. He was my subordinate and I grew closer to him each day. To the point that our colleagues are beginning to sensationalize if we are indeed an item. 

Fast forward again to Sunday, 27th November 2005. I received a call from Leonard. Asking how I was. He sounds happy... and excited. I just learned that he recently got employed in his first job. Today was his first payday as a professional. He wanted me to be the first person to know. He recognizes and acknowledges the impact I had in his life. The call went long. It took an hour. Then the hour took two. Before the call ended, he bravely asked if I'd like for us to give our relationship one more chance.

Little did he know, I was already in a relationship. But, since I was new in my relationship. I'd like to meet with my old flame. I am not sure why or if I'm denying the feelings I'm harboring towards him. I'd like to find out.

The night came. I went to Filinvest in Alabang to meet with him. I thought it was still early. So I checked out some stores around the area. He, on the other hand, met with his parents. As a proud son, he made sure to treat his parents first for a wonderful dinner that he will be paying for the first time.

2 hours had passed, I was still waiting. I checked my phone. Nothing...

Another hour passed... nothing.

I began to get worried. 

I called him up. He wasn't answering.

I got pissed! 

Then... my phone rang. I answered. It was a stranger.

"Why do you have his phone?" I asked.

"Sir, kilala nyo po ba si Mr. Leonard Montillano?" she replied.

I answered back and she immediately interrupted: "Sir, nagaagaw buhay po sya. Nandito po sya sa gutter marami pong saksak. Naholdap po kasi kami"

My world crashed down...

I was a bit far from the incident and I have no means of going there instantly. They told me that they'd bring him to "Ospital ng Muntinlupa."

On my way there, my contact said, Leonard was refused by the hospital for unknown reasons so they are transferring him to Asian Hospital.

I have so many things going on in my mind.

"Please be safe... please... God!!!"

Finally, I arrived at the Asian Hospital. I saw his mom and his sister. He was drenched in blood.

He looked at me and said "Sorry." with a smile on his face.

And that smile suddenly faded away. A tear fell down his left eye and it closed... FOREVER.

The cliche of all cliche happened. We were all crying and it rained so hard. It was like a scene from those sad movies.

But this is not a film.

Later on, I learned from his mom that after their dinner, he said goodbye and hugged them. He is not a hugger by the way.

On his way to see me, he took a jeepney. Somewhere along Cupang, in Muntinlupa. Ten men declared "Holdap" and for an unknown reason, seven men stabbed him non-stop for a total of 43 wounds in fatal areas.

They did not take anything from him. They just took his life.

What on earth did I do to deserve this?

This was his last photo taken. One week before he passed away.
Leonard Montillano
1985 - 2005

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