Monday, July 09, 2007

the poet with the same camera

I first met Ana Neri when I visited Dumaguete last year, after too-long an absence. She was one of the fellows at that year's Writers Workshop, along with Patricia, Mitch, Doug, Dominic, Ino, Erika, Darwin and the other young creatives - all there to learn from Mom Edith.

I remember noticing that we had the same camera, and techno-neanderthal that I am, I immediately gravitated to her to ask for advice with my settings (up to this day, if I see someone with a camera similar to mine, I will ask for pointers). She had the biggest smile - and took the best pictures. They were simply amazing.

We took a shot of each taking a shot of each other. I'm sure hers turned out amazing.

Last April, I bumped into her at the Philippines Free Press Awards. I was trying to get to the relocated smoking section and she was trying to get into the elevator. In that moment, as we stepped back from our near collision, we exchanged hasty smiles and sorries and hastier kudos (she won for poetry, me for fiction), before going our separate ways. I thought I'd see her with Patricia's cluster, but it wasn't to be.

Last night, I got a text from Ian, telling me that Ana had died.

In shock, I texted back. I said and Ian said and I said and then there was nothing more to be said.

Bye, Ana.

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