the way some friendships are made

i remember conversations more often than i can remember people’s names. no matter how trivial they are.

and that is how i came to remember the conversation between debbie and me after the two of us consummed an entire bottle of tequila. she, drunk like she was never before, and i, already seem to be nursing a hang over before i could even feel the effects of alcohol.

she just came back from the United States; traveling between New York and California the entire three months. it wasn’t so bad for her. she came back absolutely enamored by her aunt’s husband, who now has been classified as the most “influential figure” in her life.

it seems to me he was more determined to see her get hitched off to some american than anything else (with anything else running from getting a decent, stable job to pondering the essence of her early twenties life- which for her own standards, sucks very big time at the moment). but then, my knowledge of him is limited to what i heard of him from her. and seriously, you cannot really know the real person until you had the experience with him.

“my uncle said asian women are in.” she slurred, her figure stretched out on the sofa across me. we were drinking the tequila she brought back from the US and after consoling ourselves with chips to drink it with (it is something uniquely filipino- we cannot drink alcohol without helping ourselves with a plate of dish to match it with), we settled nicely in the living room and got on with the journey to drunkenness. “well, american women, are you know… they’re different. if you’ve been there, rona (she calls me by my second name), you would know what i mean.”

“and your point is?” i asked her.

“my uncle said i should date americans. lots of them there, you know.”

tell me about it. lots of filipinos here, too.

“don’t you know that some girls do marry americans only for the green card?” she asked and for some strange reason, giggled. “how terrible.” she paused, “you know, there are parts of new york that is dirty,too. we just do not see it from here.”

“there are more rats in new york than people.” i blurted out. but, of course. there are more rats in new york than people. “would you like ice cream? i see one in my freezer. i’ll get it.” i said.

you do not really think of eating ice cream after mentioning oversupply of rats, in normal cases. but hey, tequila does have a way with people.

“uncle said the first time he met me he thought im gonna burn the house down.” she giggled as i put down half a gallon of ice cream on the table. “and then when he knew me better he said i am too uptight… am i uptight?”

“you’re very uptight. stiff. misinformed, sometimes.” i said.

“really?”

i snapped my head towards her, “what the hell are you going to do with your life?”

“i am not sure.” she answered quickly, “uncle said i’m still young, i must enjoy my life. i told him he doesn’t understand how life is back here. americans are so spoiled.”

i swear if her uncle is a product, she is its biggest advertising campaign.

she continued, “that guy i told you about? the greek-turkish man i met in new york? he wants to date me. what do you think?”

“jesus, i do not know what to think. i have not met these people. and seriously, it is your life. my unsolicited advises to you are piling up in so much quatity i can make books out of them and you never listened to any of it anyway.” i scooped generously from the ice cream container. “what worries you so much about dating anyway?”

“sex. and you know, losing it.”

“you are going to lose it at some point.” i told her. “can we stop talking about what your uncle think, about dating american guys, and about anything remotely related to america, please?”

“that english guy i met, he’s coming here for a holiday. you want to meet him?” she shifted the subject.

“you know what? this ice cream is perfect with pancakes. do you want to eat pancakes?”

“no. not really. do you want to eat pancakes?” she replied.

“i want to prepare pancakes.” i told her and stood up and did do just that.

it was four a.m. in the morning, we started drinking around 12:30 a.m. and liquor was gone by 3:30am, followed by a melting ice cream, and little round pancakes.

perhaps, we were both drunk. she was absolutely sloshed; i was already nursing a hang over. one cannot have a hang over if one didn’t get drunk. so, perhaps we were really both drunk. david called an hour later, long after she dozed off on me. “how are you?”

“drunk, i guess. debbie is here, we finish the bottle of tequila she brought back for me from new york. ” i answered.

“blimey. i didn’t know she drinks.” they both know each other.

“she does now. courtesy of her america-grown irish uncle.”

“ah-ha!” he replied and chuckled. “who broke her heart this time?”

“you’re a silly man, beaven. off you go and let me sleep.” i giggled. “talk to you tomorrow?”

“of course.” david said.

i was staring at debbie sleeping on the sofa and wondered. friendship is a strange thing. you do not really notice them gone until they disappear. i and debbie, we do not have much in common. even our conversations are way out of synch most of the time.

but i did miss her when she left the country for the US. and i truly believe i wouldn’t miss someone unless they matter to me. and in the end, between friends, it doesnt matter if you think differently the entire time or if you like this and she prefers that or if she strongly believes in this and you strongly dismiss the same.

they are not what makes you whole. they give additional sense to your being whole.

it is not so much about what it is you miss. but rather, why are you missing it?

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