Just the other day while going to Tacloban I bumped into my best friend. It was still dark and early to call it a day but I’m glad I was sitting right beside my friend on a long road trip inside a van (it didn’t crash thanks God). He was heading for the airport to catch an international flight to China and I’m heading for a seminar. We haven’t really seen each other for most of the year, and yes, the last seven years. It was a roadtrip, and it was a time for us to sit down and talk.
And talk we did – the whole 3-hour ride at the back of the van. We’ve been friends since preschool and took the same school and section the rest of the way until college. He’s really one of the very few people who knows me, my voice, my fears, my color and my limitations. But one thing I really liked about him is that he knows how to talk to me. Oh man, that’s rare talking to other people naturally who can keep up with my train of thoughts: which are basically ideas and sometimes nonsensical questions. This guy really know how to listen and talk back. I’m a lucky man to have a bestfriend like him.
It was a long conversation, 110 kilometers long. We were talking, amidst the cold dark of dawn and the penetrating silence of the sleepy travellers. We talked just like the old times. We talked about our experiences the past few years, our travels, our ideas, our doubts, our hopes, our plans and above all how our lives went. I think I never had one good conversation like we have in a long time. Something that is sensible, intelligent, and emotionally border-less.. just say what you think and say what you feel. We were cool.
I really love listening about the places he have been to all over the world. The different people of different nationalities and accents that he met and befriended. Like how does Europeans talk, how they converse, their accents and the way they carry their conversations. Do they speak ill of other people like what Filipinos are so fond of? Do they talk about ideas or share their experiences? And do they even speak about love, religion and philosophies? Obviously we don’t talk about people.
He told me that he already bought a lot and will construct a house when he comes back. Then I remembered that this man earns dollars, big enough to earn ten years worth of salary in a single tour. Indeed he has come a long long way financially, career-wise and quite literally on the kilometer readings. It’s natural to feel out of place with that kind of staffs but he is so down to earth that he even gives praises and encouragement of how much I achieved too. I wish he knew how proud and happy I am for whatever he is now.
Our conversation also landed in Vietnam. I told him I want my passport get stamped and the cheapest and coincidentally the most special place I want to visit is Vietnam, next year. And right away he told me that he will come too since he also mentored and befriended a Vietnamese sailor who invited him to come to Ho Chi Minh City next year. Travel mate finally, Oh the power of conversation!
We may have to continue living in two different worlds but that conversation we have is an evidence our bond goes deep into our beings. There’s always a good thing to talk about, in fact just too many I can’t wait until he comes back. And one more thing, we were talking the whole time without seeing our faces. We don’t need to. It was dark and our eyes were on the road. We were creatures in the dark, talking and not caring about the world around us.. we have no faces to show, only voices only we could understand, synchronized brains and a strong common bond. We were like the phantoms of the dawn.