Buddy you're a boy
Make a big noise playing in the street
Gonna be a big man someday.
You got mud on your face,
You big disgrace,
Kicking your can all over the place…
It all started with a simple question:
Am I (or had I been) a good boy?
Francis told me Kert asked him this about me.
Do I not look like one? (Haha!)
Am I not acting like one?
Easy enough to answer at an impulse. But thinking about it, I found that I wanted to re-examine some things. I gave an (unconvincing, to me, at least) affirmative answer. Whether he was satisfied or not, I do not know. But it has gained me some time to think about it some more.
Wherever we were, together we shared our answers to such simple (yet to me seemingly interesting and reflective) questions.
Sitting on top of a jeep moving at a decent speed while looking at the breath-taking sights around us, feeling the blows of the cool sea-breeze while carefully trying to avoid the dangling coconut leaves and branches from leaving zebra stripes on our faces;
buried under the moist sand of the beach behind our hotel with the sound of crashing waves playing in the background, feeling the force of each grain tickle and irritate our skin as the horizon slowly grew darker and darker—the night sky literally being sprinkled with stars all over;
gathering leaves and wood that have died and dried with time while carefully trying to avoid the poop mines scattered all around, and then using a borrowed lighter to light them up and build our mini- bonfire;
basking in the light and warmth that the fire provided against the cool, windy night while checking from time to time that the flames don't get fanned out ;
taking dinner way past after everyone else has had them—each each one with his own preference in food—but equally grateful of the blessing and delighted of the company each one provides while enjoying the delicious repast prepared for us.
What does fire remind you of?
Or of rain?
And hearing answers like:
It's the tears clouds shed for their fellow clouds that have died.
The sun reminds me of a father… God.
Our topics varied a lot.
From turtle food,
to color analysis,
to the details of World War (I, II, the aftermath, and possible follow-ups).
Deep inside, my mind was working overtime trying to recall what I have learned from my history teacher (shoutout to Myke Divina for all the memorable lessons!).
Whatever the subject was, one person directed the flow: our unproclaimed leader Kert.
I have always found conversing with/to a child present to be rather tricky.
Words have to be chosen with care and tones have to be kept in check, while at the same time trying to retain the sincerity.
I tried to see to it that the words used were understandable to his “young” mind. And that the thought or concept does not incite cynicism this early or destroy the innocence still in existence. Rather, I was hoping our answers would inspire him to further seek out answers on his own.
Francis calls this being considerate on my part.
I call it nothing.
On Day 4, our last day in Batanes, all day long we prepared for what would be our last night together.
A great, BIG, final bonfire was planned.
We gathered wood from each site we went to that day (the previous nights we simply made use of what was around us).
As early as lunch time our leader has even set what was to be the main topic of the night:
"What does Batanes remind you of?“
But he was also quick to ”warn" us not to think about our answers till later that evening.
That was how our talks always went.
Francis and I were also thinking this would be time Kert would give his verdict on the first question we started with.
Was I (or had I) indeed, been a good boy?
But, as with life, things happen despite all the plans made.
As soon as it grew dark, rain started to fall.
We decided to wait it out.
We had our dinner with our fellow travellers and viewed the pictures that have been taken since we arrived.
When the last slide was shown, it was already late and the rain was still falling outside. It was time to sleep.
Come dawn the following day, the sun was getting ready to rise and shine.
The rain had stopped sometime during the night while we were asleep.
Breakfast was spent pretty much in silence.
It was time.
Time to leave.
Time to go home.
Time to go back to our own respective worlds.
Nobody was looking forward to it.
The three of us shared the same sentiments and have said so in not so many words the previous day.
At the domestic airport in Basco, we played with his gameboy for a while as we wait for the plane to arrive. Upon landing in Manila and claiming our baggages, a simple wave of goodbye was exchanged. By that time, no words needed to be said (or perhaps nothing could be said anymore).
It's not that we have ran out of things to talk about.
Or that there were no more answers to be shared.
Most certainly questions still abound.
But maybe enough has been said for now.
Time to review the lessons learned from each one's answers so that we can be ready for the next one.
So what was the answer to the question?
I don't know yet.
He has made me a friend.
So maybe he's already convinced I am one.
Or has hopes that I can be one.
Just the thought, makes me want to be one.
We will, we will ROCK you!
We will, we will ROCK you!
We will, we will ROCK you!
(drum beats slowly fade)