When I was going through photos worth 4 years of medschool, I noticed that N was in a lot of the of the best events I seemed happiest. Quite surprised to see him there, but then again, we both belonged to the same organization. N and I met when we were having our physical exams before entrance to medschool. I was new to the university and the language was also new to me. N stood out in an ironic way, he was short for most men, just my height or a couple more. But he was so fresh faced, skin so fair and flawless and penetrating eyes that it was hard not to notice him. And he had an easy smile. I instantly pegged him for a rich, pretty boy one who had resources for expensive skin care. He looked like a mini-Tom Cruise. Lol. In the time we were forming our line with the procedures, we’d talked a bit and I I learned that he was a non traditional student, where he did premed, that he wasn’t from here, but he had relatives several towns away. Perhaps he was my first friend. I remember giddily chatting online with Mel (my college classmate) and telling her that I met someone very cute and he was going to be my classmate.
Medschool here we come. On the first days of classes, I used to always sit with a classmate from premed but later on, he transferred to the back and I was left sitting in the middle rows with N. N turned out to be more girly than me that I began to doubt if he was gay. Lolz. He was always impeccable in his handwriting on the papers, everything neatly folded, even the way he rolled his earphones. I later learned that he came from a middle class family, that he started medschool around 25 because he spent a few ears working and then teaching English abroad to fund his first year of medschool. I don’t remember much from first year about him after that as I become busy with my PBL and N seemed too measured, too smug and we just didn’t move in the same circles. In the summer before 2nd year, we had joined the same christian medical students conference and we became friendlier but nothing changed my opinion of him. I had also joined that conference because the plane tickets were free and i wanted to experience something so Not Me.
He just seemed too smug and weird and unable to relate to most of us. Of course, maybe because a lot of traditional students were cliquish and high schoolish and he acted as if he was above it all. And I was really annoyed by his long speeches in bible study. (Being someone who formerly avoided bible studies like the plague, I was only warming up to the culture). I think this was also the time when he made a confession in our (funnily) conservative christian BS Group about his “sins” of how he had intimate contact with a woman during college. Oh, that was a surprise. But his openness freaked me out, how could he be that open about something, or that was it even a sin, because it wasn’t for me. And I thought it shouldn’t be shared. I think, this was also the time that he was having problems with his Mom’s health, she was diagnosed with pancreatic CA and had only such a short time left. This was another (stupid) reason why he was so different from the rest of us, and the fact that he was close to another male classmate, a former altar boy and in my mind, too friendly to be free of insinuations. Lol.
Third year comes, we revamp and make our BS group more active. I am nominated for the leadership. of course I refuse (I always do), but I volunteer to lead the outreach committee as it was more to my liking. N is more approachable now, within the confines of the group, but I don’t like his leadership which is a lot of talk, talk. For Christmas, I suggest that we serenade and give gifts at the pedia ward of another government hospital. Then we go to an island as our Christmas party.
In this Christmas Island Getaway, we are seen sitting beside each other near the front of the boat. But this was more a function of us being the type to always sit in the front of buses (for me at least). Photos show bare shoulders touching several times, though I don’t remember this. I’m sure back then I didn’t feel any need to be close to him, but he was fun to be with as he was just as adventurous in swimming in the lagoon. And we secretly knew he was attracted to one of my close friends though he had a long term girlfriend we’d never met, or that he might be gay. No need to be close.
That night we gathered in the beach, creating a bonfire and laying on the sand. He had talked about the constellations. His know-it-all thing manifesting itself again though I don’t remember being so annoyed by him anymore. Very early the next morning, my “from behind” photos were with D with his arm around me, while I wrap myself in my sarong as we pretend to be surveying the islets around us. Oh that was one of my best memories ever. And it was in recollection of this Christmas getaway that I notice the photos our friends took, that implied that I wasn’t so annoyed by him anymore.
I forget if these pictures were before or after his mother died from pancreatic CA, his pain magnified by the fact that he didn’t have enough money and time to to fly home quick enough to see her still breathing. Third year ends, everyone by this time is more comfortable and friendly with others.
We begin internship, and we are part of a larger group that first rotates in the rural community. While we don’t work together at the same time, we meet once weekly for reporting. Their group plans to go hiking at the mountains and swim in the waterfalls with our seniors. My group doesn’t feel like it, so I end up joining his group. We had a total blast, swimming in the waterfalls and pool.
Months later, in the hospital, I borrow the files from one of the seniors and was UTTERLY surprised that she had made a short video of N and me. Lolz. I didn’t even know there was something there. She laughed and explained that it was sort of a spoof of old videokes that showed beach scenes with the man and woman actors being romantic. I can’t believe they even thought there was potential in our photos. Lolz. Bored seniors.
But then the video started with the shoreline and moving slowly to the lower water pool/pond where N is making his way towards me while I’m at the other side minding my business and shivering. They take several more pics. The rest of the pics show us floating, hugging the rock wall, and him bathing under the bamboo-made natural faucet, and posing like a soap or shampoo commercial model. I remember telling him to do this stupid poses. Lolz.
Near the end of our community rotation, the flamboyant and ethically questionable, part time “teacher” bitches on me (the following week he touched the bare chest of another classmate who he had instructed to act as the patient of another classmate during PE practice. For fuck’s sake—we were already taught PE in 1st year!). I remember after being scolded by the flamboyant bitch that my senior doctors and our group decided to eat out. I was feeling shitty to be honest, but as we rode that toy train in the mall, my shame and pain slowly disappeared, and N and I even got a pic of the TV screen that had us in it. That was the last community week for me, as on the next one I got a call to come home ASAP because my dad had a sudden seizure and was in a coma.