It was the perfect and most complete meal I had in many a Holy Week since I was this tall. This Paella Negra in a well-worn paellera was served at a merienda get-together hosted by Ka Universe, Gilda Cordero Fernando, for her friends from different persuasions: psychologist Carmen Enrile, playwright Rody Vera, development worker Juju Tan and wife, the architect Ning Encarnacion Tan, sculptor Julie Lluch and yours truly. Gilda once said if there's any skill or any thing she's good at, it's playing host and getting the right mix of people in a room. So after we dug into the paella, arugula salad with figs and flowers, fish and halo-halo and finished our meal, the conversation ranged wide and deep, with pit stops for bits of gossip. Thank you, Gilda, for remaining in our lives and still choosing to be of this world.