I get together with my high school friends maybe six times a year. We used to be a bigger group, but as one after the other married or moved abroad, our group was whittled down to four.
We call ourselves the BWI, short for BWIset. In Tagalog, "bwiset" means to be ticked off. The meaning of those 3 letters changes according to our disposition. Various interpretations are: Beautiful Women In a Set, Bitchy Women In a Set, Bodacious Women In a Set. I forget the other meanings but they can get weird, depending on what we had for dinner.
My friends meet up a lot, but I don't always join them for various reasons. I know they don't always invite me out since I'm not always available, but it's no skin off me because I know that they're my friends.
Anyway, yesterday was Marmie's birthday so we had an impromptu night out. They're pretty much ladies of leisure, so they can easily meet up on a weekday afternoon at a moment's notice. So as my 3 girlfriends gorged on sinigang and crispy pata at Gerry's Grill, I rushed from Makati to meet them. When I finally joined them at Eastwood they were doing some late-night shopping. We all headed to Jack's Loft for dessert.
After salivating over the cake display, they made their orders while I dug into some pasta pomodoro, courtesy of Gai. The arrival of their chocolate and cheese cakes were greeted with the usual squeals of joy. But as they started eating the inevitable comments started coming in - the cake was too dry, there was too much gelatin in the cheesecake, yadda yadda yadda.
At the end of our meal (my first, their second) Gai remarked how we never learn; we just keep going back to Jack's Loft even if the food isn't good.
I couldn't help thinking about that. Habits die hard. But there is some comfort in things that don't change. Marmie hamming it up for the cam. Lisa dispersing her opinions on this and that. Gai bringing us up to speed on her lovelife. And always, always...the rest of us talking about anyone who isn't there. Beware the trips to the bathroom! :)
We wear each other like second skin. But it's like a favorite jacket you can put on and take off at will. Sometimes we are and sometimes we're not. Our lives touch and then go off in their separate directions. But our shared experiences, like the sun's gravity, always pull us back into our well-worn orbits, towards each other.
I could feel bad when I don't get to join them for a trip out of town, but I don't. As a working mom I've already defined my role and my priorities, and I've never looked back ever since Miguel was born. That, I must say, was when I grew up. And I'm still growing.
But what I like about them is that even though my life is different now, they never let me feel like I have changed. Once a BWI, always a BWI.
I just know that next year we'll find ourselves at Jack's Loft again, wondering why we never learn.