stepping out of the yellow brick road.

the prelude of the friendship dani and i shared can be attributed to him holding out a fork and calling it in my native tongue as we lined up to get a mouthful servings of the catered food during a company party in May. i remembered showing a complete expression of surprise because not only did he seem to want to try filipino food (which is obviously not very popular with the expatriates), he knows the country’s official language quite well.

before him, there was no salsa, no world cup, no metallica, no campari, no crazy parties in boracay, and no unconventional friendship ties. before him, i was oblivious to the discrimination and issues surrounding a cross-culture, opposite-sex friendship. before him, traveling alone was taboo.

there were a lot of things i learned from him, some of which up to this point i continuously refused to embrace. we had opposing views on prostitution and drugs and the whole intricate art of subtle flirting. we argued over and over again on the validity of love being all-sufficient for contentment and satisfaction. he digress that it is possible to love a person very much and still pursue own interest that requires one’s presence on the other side of the continent. for him it was never “either” or “or”. for me, happiness is where love is. and if your happiness lies somewhere like 2,500 nautical miles from where you currently are, then love in the present is not enough.

if there was something that bound dani and me, it would be the stories we shared. it was neither the things we did together (because they were not ample in nature) nor the places we went to together (because counting the frequent trips to the bars, we never really went to other places much). it was the conversation that happened in between and afterwards. we shared stories with each other too much that at some point we have become the other’s breathing diary. we both shared guilt with our stories and hoped nobody would ever found out what it was we talked about.

it was only after dani left the country that i realized how much he has influenced my life and the way i look at things. i started becoming a sucker for lone travels. at first, it took a lot of effort to enjoy it and because it required such tedious effort, i never quite enjoyed it as i hoped to. it was only after much later when i stopped looking at travels as an escape (but rather as a way of life) that i fully understood why dani loved it so much. and why it made him somehow less bothered with change.

the travels changed me dramatically. surface intervals are the time spent in the metropolis, in between jobs and crazy schedules. on weekends until monday, i was rarely there. the metropolis was all work and bad habits.

my weekends were something else.


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