When I learned that Noelle passed away, I couldn't put words to my pain. I called Mimi and insisted her mom wake her so we could cry together-not talk, just cry. When I was finally able to catch my breath, I realized that my pain came from regret. I only knew Noelle for a few months and already I felt a special closeness to her. Even before her death, I knew these moments weren't enough for me. What I held on to was the promise of an even closer friendship, the promise of goofier times-of watching more Tagalog films with the Candy staff (listening and laughing as she and Mia compared their vast knowledge of everything baduy), of sharing stories of our love lives (she actually cried when I told her how my boyfriend and I got together) and our favorite books (we started our own book club with just the two of us as members) and fashionista moments (she and Faith had a common love for hats and head wraps), and of just hanging out (she and Mimi played "It's a small world" since they shared so many common friends, Mikke loved to tease her, while Ria gave her countless makeovers because she had such beautiful skin). It wasn't sadness for Noelle that gripped my heart, because she lived such a beautiful life, touching everyone she met; it was sadness for myself because I was given only a few months with her.
After talking to the people closest to her, I got to know her better. I experienced more of her sunshine and her love. And I am grateful to have been her friend, even if it was for a very short time. That was enough for her to touch my life.