Amer Amor

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By Linda Grace Cariño

Baguio Stories

Friday, May 23, 2014


AMER Amor. What a strange name, was my first thought. My mind even now plays with it: Amir Amer. Amir Ameru. The first time I was told Amer’s name, I knew what a friend meant of my own name when she met first me: “Linda Cariño? Steer.”

But Amer Amor was indeed the name of the dynamo who walked into UPB CAC Christmas show rehearsals the faculty were always hard at work at every year’s end. He would proceed to most creatively polish up the numbers, energize us all with his enthusiasm, and get us ready for that campus Yuletide extravaganza called Pasiklaban. I immediately saw in him a Theatre person because it takes one to know one.

So we often talked of putting up a musical to showcase all the musical and acting and directorial talent in our college. I believe Amer was even once already canvassing talent and material for just such a show when he asked me, “Ma’am Linds, what musical is most you?” On my end, I was toying with the idea of an all faculty musical three act. Amer and I had a real discussion about that. I wanted all UPB faculty so that directing would be easier, as in, hello: adults. He wanted student participation. We talked, then sang away in our office.

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The other month, in March, we hugged as he told me goodbye. Our script went something like this:

Me: What do you mean goodbye? Like for good, you’re leaving UPB?
Amer: Yes, Ma’am Linds. Time to move on.

Me: But, but, why? This is too sudden for me. Why am I hearing of this only now? What are your plans?

Amer: Oh, just go home for a while.

Me: What do you mean? Why don’t you just go home, vacation, and then come back?

Amer: Other plans, Ma’am Linds, other plans. Might be going to Japan if all goes well.

Me: Oh, okay. Have a good vacation and a great time in Japan, then. Wish you well, then.

Amer: Thanks, Ma’am Linds, thanks.

Me: So we keep in touch by Facebook?

Amer: Yes.

Both of us: Just a click away.

In truth, we agreed to meet at the graduation ceremony. I didn’t make it to that one – other plans. I made it to the college send-off the day before for our graduates, hoping to see him there. He didn’t make it to that one – other plans.

On Thursday of last week, Amer figured in a motorcycle accident while vacationing in Donsol, his hometown. On Saturday, I read the email about it, and sat in front of my computer, stunned and speechless, unable to take it in. On Monday, there was a memorial in school for our colleague. I didn’t make it to that one. I swing by in the evening and opened our office door to an enlarged, framed picture of Amer on his own desk, with flowers and candles on it, too. And burst into tears, alone, in that office. I talked to him, saying, mainly: Ameeeeeeerrrr, Ammmmeeeerrr., Amer.

It was Amer who once gave me an “Appear-Disappear Award” that Christmas season when we first met, for “Now you see her, now you don’t,” to much hilarity. I then replied that I wasn’t actually there, “Hologram lang ‘to!” When I recently asked him why I was seeing him and then not and vice versa so often, he retorted that he had learned to “appear and disappear” from me.

I am positive Amer has now “appeared” in greater heights. And clearly, I am one still trying to process this “disappear” of a friend. You know what -- it will be some time, still, while I wish you well then, my friend. Wish you well.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 24, 2014.

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