The ordinary Jun
By Virginia Jasmin Pasalo
SO many people have described Jun Velasco in so many ways. Dante, his younger brother, described him as “… a tender-hearted brother and friend, a lyric poet, a journalist with a literary bent, a homespun philosopher, a singer Sinatra style, a combo organizer with Elvis as model… He is a loving son to our parents, a mentoring elder brother, a gentle loving husband to wife Catherine, a loving Dad to Junjun, Kharmina, and Chip. He is a well-loved friend to thousands across the country.” Others spoke about his prominence, his good deeds and career achievements. Most spoke of Jun in glowing superlatives, depending on the impact of his presence in their lives.
I am acquainted with the ordinary Jun, without which, any description of him would be incomplete. It is this ordinariness that makes him beautiful in my eyes, the man, his incompleteness, his search for meaning, his doubts, his deepest fears, his biases. These things combine to add a unique quality to the whole that is Jun, the whole that is larger than the sum of its parts.
He asked too many questions such as:
December 9: What is the philosophy behind The Little Prince?
December 27: …. Nothing can touch a man who has no ego. In him will dwell universal mind. The Words of Buddha.
December 28: Wat do u tnk of bong revilla running 4 d senate? May pagasa pa ang bayan?
We have unending philosophical exchanges which got deleted when I had my mobile reformatted. What was left was his Christmas wish: Night has just come down, and before it’s too late, grab a copy today’s Pdi, and read Joel Butuyan’s column on swim with memories of familiar songs you have known intimately. Merry Christmas!”. To which I replied, “Talaga? Gabi na. Sarado na stalls.” Now I will google and read this article.
His last message came on December 31. “When things seem like they’re going bad, just remember, God gives his hardest battles to his toughest soldiers. Stay strong. 3H greetings Healthy Holy Happy New Year!” It sounded to me like a wish for himself, too.
A smile lingers in my mind, a playful, naughty smile, about to erupt into a laughter, over a joke about “ghosts” and occasional “ghosting” as a playful segue in his journalistic career. It is a kind of talent, cohabiting with the mind of another, and composing words, exactly as its host would think and write, a process I call “twinking”, a combined word of twin and thinking, or thinking like twins. Jun did this so well, that at some point, he had already written on paper what the other has yet to think. The osmosis, brought about by constant interaction, resulted in a synchronicity that only one or two close friends can discern. The host in any case, is gifted with a lightness of being, more capable of spontaneity and laughter, which contrasts with the emotional engagement that Jun invests in his writing. He misses him. They were partners in crime.
I miss him too, his spirit, the soul of his ordinariness.
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