My Tita Thelma and Tita Nelda are both here in Manila for some gall bladder procedure and vacation respectively. Both are staying at my cousin, Jinky’s.

My sister and I had dinner tonight with them, along with my cousin Chito, now happily married to his job at Quisumbing and Associates (or some law firm thing like that), and with Tita Helen (Jinky’s mom), and Jinky’s hubby, Doc.

It was a delicious meal and table conversation was fun. My dad’s side of the family…it is the first time I completely enjoyed them as individuals with fun quirks.

Some issues were raised about Etchel (Jinky’s brother). It was painful to hear about certain situations he is going through (and creating) right now.

It’s especially difficult to hear these things about my cousin. For 3 of our preteen to early teen years, he stayed in our home. We were like brother and sister of the same age, and my close friend. The first person I learned to apologize to. The first person who completely got my odd sense of humor. And the first person at that age who did not think poring over encyclopedias on Saturday afternoons was weird, but enjoyable.

Etch is witty, talented, had a mildly dry sense of humor, and is intelligent enough to get into PSHS.

He was my favorite cousin, still is, and I guess, always will be, no matter what he does and what they say.

He has always been a heartbreaker. But I never thought he’d break my heart too.