I went to bed last night knowing that in less than 9 hours, I would bid farewell to my close friend.
My parents thought I’d wet my pillow with my tears. They were ready with tissues and shoulders in case I needed someone to console me. They stood by me ever supportive as I stood with my arms across my chest waiting for my friend to leave.
It was around 7 am, and I had had just dragged myself out of bed. I had slept well. So well for someone whose friend was going away to another country altogether.
I wasn’t worried. It was just another time zone. Besides, my friend and I only message each other a lot, and a five and half hours in between wouldn’t change anything much.
Not everyone else saw it the same way.
For my friend’s parents, he was going away for good. It was like he was abandoning them, running away without leaving a note.
As the previous day waned and the time for departure drew near, the father grew quieter and quieter. His voice grew smaller, his face duller, and his tension a little higher.
The mother, on the other hand, was panicking within. It was obvious, but she tried her best to cover it up by sweating in the kitchen instead. She cooked all his favourite foods; from fried chicken and sautéed fish, to stir-fried crabs, she wanted to make sure her son ate everything he could before he left the nest.
Ever since he booked his flight ticket, things had shaky at home. He had to mask his excitement so that his parents wouldn’t feel bad. For an outsider, it was all funny.
But on the inside, the family had broken down. Nothing was as big as the child leaving home to work in an alien country. That’s how parents are. They’re annoying, meddling, and saying things that we don’t like, and saying the right things almost all the time, which we don’t like even more. But they’re parents. At the end of a long day, they’re the ones who stay up all night wondering if the son has boarded the aircraft, and they’re the ones losing sleep because one plane crashed twenty years ago.
And there I was, my arms across my chest waiting for him to leave. I, the friend, didn’t even pretend to wipe away an absent tear. Well, what can I say, I not into public display.
Well, what can I say, I not into public display.