2. To be spontaneous, my friend, is an act of faith
I used to think that everything done spontaneously was the best deal to bargain for. No plans, no worries, no upsets. Back when I was younger, still at the spark of life’s beginning, me and a bunch of friends would mingle and make last minute decisions for the things we want to do without the hassle of being adult about it. I thought that was amazing the way we did what we did on a whim. Like spending nights in one another’s homes, traveling out of the city to places we could afford, watching the stars and boats at the jetty and doing whatever else our hearts and minds fancied. This went on for a while in the three years we were together since we were bound by college life. But as everything in the turning of the wheel goes our adventurous escapades didn’t last. Upon completing the course, we set out to search our own destinies and inevitable contract for adulthood. We met occasionally in our new environment and we missed the good old times when there was not a care in the world. We tried again to relive those days but they were never the same again. Although at one point when all of us had our lives altered by our own partners, the dry season of our friendship prolonged for quite a fair bit of time. We thought it was all vanishing like how acquaintances usually do. Of all our gang of friends who used to do the crazies and on the spur, only three of us kept very closely in touch. But only two of us would finally meet up and still try our hand at being impromptu, but with a little more responsibility attached to it. It wasn’t the same as before where we whiled our time away wondering about the big secret of life. Now we are part of the secret and trying to make it real to us. Somehow we realized that there was no point in getting back to where and what we used to be. It was the ‘now’ that was important and how we changed with time and age that makes it even more relevant because the fact remains that we are still friends. It’s been twenty years that we have known each other and when we meet we still wonder how all those time just flew by. Although we are committed by choice or obligation at this time, when we meet up we are back to our college days of rain watching and adventure seeking. And the spontaneity is not of what we do but what we feel being together.
1. The waiter by the doorway
He stands against the wall at the entrance when no customers are in need of his services. He stares into space, longing for things he never had and thinking of everyone back home where life is slow and quiet. He misses that. He never thought he would be waiting tables in a foreign country. Back home he did everything he could to make it through the day. It wasn’t much but it was a living. Selling knick-knacks by the roadside to tourists, helping at the family farm, working at sites that needed on the spot workers, he was all of them. He wondered, just like young men his age wondered what was far and beyond the mountains and across the ocean to taste the life of another world.
One day that chance came. A tourist asked him if he would like to work in a restaurant. He was thrilled and nervous to make a decision. He has never been out of his country and this would mean giving up all the comfort of his family and home. Before he knew what he wanted to do, his bags were all packed and ready to leave. In an instant he was flying over the land he knew so well and then the next he was stepping on new grounds with the sweet scent of mystery. As soon as he got off the plane, his new employer ferried him to his work place and was to start as soon as the next day. It was exciting and adventurous working in a restaurant nestled in some upper middle class area and meeting new people.
His eight to ten routine that goes on for six days a week became exhausting and wearisome after six months. He has seen his customers with big cars from big houses that talk about business that runs into millions. He sometimes envies them and sometimes admires them. Every now and then when the crowd was low, he would stand by the doorway and look out into space and think of the mountains, the trees and his family. They were poor by any standards but they were together. Before he could think any further a customer would call him to serve and then his life would roll on for another day until at which time when there was no one to interfere again with his reverie.