Posted at 01/24/2014 12:45 PM

Sometimes, items on sale are like the precious friends that you keep. While you get huge discounts, you can’t say they’re cheap. They could be valuable to only a few or maybe, others just couldn’t see them for what they are! Impulsive buyer that I am, I have learned to ask myself whether I would regret not buying an item on sale. With friends, I always imagine what life would be like without them.

Friends and lovers

When I was half my present age, I used to say that I considered friendships far more valuable than romantic relationships. Somehow, I realized that friendship is necessary if a romantic relationship is to last a lifetime.

To this day, I cannot say whether my parents were the best of friends or just lovers. I knew about their disagreements because my mother confided her hurts in me. As if to take back what she just said, she would always say that Papa was a responsible provider, that he had always stood by her and that he was strict for a reason. But I never heard my father say negative things about her. I sensed that he was more amused by what she said and did and that nothing she did really made him angry. So, maybe they were friends.

There came a point when I thought their disagreements were so petty. It dawned on me then that because nothing could ever be perfect and that those were the imperfections in their relationships. Nothing could really take them apart. If there had been no friction between them, I probably would have been more afraid.

Endearing imperfections

What has become clear to me is that even the most precious things come with flaws, imperfections that make the person or object unique and may yet be what makes them endearing.

I have a friend who just squeezes in calls between chores, sometimes to ask for recipes, cooking directions or substitutes, sometimes to express a political view or make me a sounding board for an analysis of the latest events. Sometimes, all that friend needs is someone to talk to who will not judge or criticize, so I take on the role of listener, supporter and one-woman pep squad, knowing that I can be all that affirms me.

I also count among my friends two sisters whose personalities are poles apart, I often feel that mine is a combination of theirs. One is so outgoing and has a large group of friends from high school, apart from others she met at work. The other is quiet and reserved, and though she has friends from different circles as well, one can tell that she keeps a few special ones closer than the rest. When we were younger, their parents would pick them up and they would take me with them for lunch as if I were a third daughter. There was a time when I’d be on the phone with their mom for an hour, as if I were talking to my own mother! I felt like I was the eldest, both in chronological age as well as in life’s bumps and bruises. And, like real siblings, they have always been there for me.

Having lived in a building for more than two decades, I became attached to neighbors who have been like older sisters to me. We get together for our birthdays and celebrations of milestones in our families’ lives. We share a fondness for many things--food, crafts and bargains! We enjoy places like Quiapo, Divisoria and Dapitan and would often consult one another whenever we want to purchase something.

Friends are who you are

I have previously mentioned my law school friends and there are a few more I could add but I would be saying the same thing about them: they are all precious to me. Because I have many things in common with them, they help define who I am. And, like the lovely things on sale that I have decided to buy, I have asked myself whether I would regret not having them as friends. I know in my heart that I would.