Sasha and Zoe back in March 2000

I met Zoe during my freshman year in high school. She was a new student but I was so intimidated by her that I didn’t really talk to her until about the 3rd day. All my other classmates had been telling me that she was really nice, but because she was this tall, beautiful and confident girl who spoke no Filipino I stayed away. It wasn’t until she started goofing off in our classroom that I had the confidence to even approach her and introduce myself. I can’t remember how exactly, but the group started talking about NSYNC and we both said how much we loved that group. We turned to each other and said “I LOVE JUSTIN!” and thus, our friendship was born.

After that, we were practically inseparable in school. We spent recess and lunch together, usually eating the same thing, and sat next to each other in class. Because some of our classes were in Filipino, I sometimes had to explain stuff to her. In return, I think I felt more confident in speaking English because I was always around her and on the phone with her.

I never really liked big celebrations for my birthdays, so that school year my family and I just went to Shangri-La mall. This wasn’t our usual mall, but because Zoe worked in her uncle’s shop there, I insisted that we go there so she could join us. And that’s when we had that picture (above) taken. I still always keep it in my wallet today. Also, I will forever associate Shangri-La to Zoe, especially that particular part of the mall where her uncle’s shop was.

Before the school year was over, I found out that she was going back to California. I knew she was ecstatic about this, but of course I wasn’t. I was talking to one of our friends about it when Zoe approached us. Of course, being the drama queen that I was I had already been crying my eyes out. She said she didn’t know that her leaving would affect me that much. And then we hugged and spent the lunch period sitting together and being melodramatic.

As it turned out, she didn’t leave until the following school year but she didn’t enroll in our school anymore. However, we still talked everyday and she visited me at school from time to time. We spent her last day in the Philippines with her brother Forbes and her sister Guada in Megamall because it was just a walking distance from their condo. Amazingly enough, I didn’t cry. Then. When my dad picked me up and we were driving away was when I started crying quietly. The following day, she called me really early before her flight and we said goodbye. I remember I was already wearing the North Carolina jersey she left with me. (Why did she have an NC jersey? Because Justin Timberlake had the same one. LOL)

Anyway, the point is, that was the last time I saw Zoe face to face. The next few years, we chatted online and she’d call me sometimes. Then thank heavens, Skype was invented!

Recently, I started having dreams about her coming back here for a visit. I would always be so happy, but then get so sad when I wake up and realize that it was all a dream. We’ve always talked about being like Monica and Rachel in Friends and getting an apartment together, but I guess her coming here for a visit is easier for me so that’s what I always dream about. I don’t know why I suddenly decided to write about Zoe and our friendship. I suppose it’s because I couldn’t sleep the other night and I started thinking about all the things that I associate with her. Like Shangri-La, the area near Megamall where her condo was, Baby Ruth candy bars (we used to eat them during recess), the fact that I don’t carry food trays when there are open drinks on them (that last day we spent together was when I realized that I couldn’t carry one; I dropped our tray of food and made the biggest mess ever), etc.

But I guess the main reason is just because I really miss her. I’m so sappy today, I don’t know why. Pft.