16thDecember was a tiring day for me and to add on, the weather after lunch associating with the chilly wind really made me double my pace, as though going for a walker-thon and there is someone waiting for me with a huge trophy, supposing I came first. I walked fast ducking my head often to make sure the wind don’t blow off my cap and at the same time minding my, “Gho” dont parachute on me.
I have crossed the zebra crossing lying a few meters past Thimphu main traffic and I was busy surveying those two little BOB ATM houses in Druk Shopping complex visually, looking for the shortest queue to join. Just imagine how I looked, with one hand weighing down the cap on my head and another holding the gho dividers on my bump shielding from parachuting. Just then, I hear somewhat familiar giggle, but it was too faint for me to familiarize the tone, so I kept my steps. Again the giggle, this time a little louder and I saw this guy cutting his face into two with a huge smile a few steps up giggling at me. “I know, I look funny, so don’t mind folks laughing at me.” I comforted myself and hurried my steps.
Steps up and I could hear no giggle, “May be he wasn’t giggling at you?” My inner voice started telling me not to be judgmental. “I know, I know,” I defended myself. I was about to join the shorter queue on the right, when that guy with a huge giggling face caught me by my arm from behind and pulled back as though an act of bully, just like those bullies in schools in the movies. “Oye, you don’t remember me?” He held my arm tight, looked me in the eye and said, “Oh, goodness you don’t!” Suddenly I remembered, “Oh, gosh, is that really you?” “Of course, it’s me!” He threw his hands wide open to huge me. My long lost childhood friend was standing right in front of me all this time and I did not recognize him, “Oh, gosh, I am so sorry!” I begged him.
He laughed so loud looking at me and that took me to those childhood days in Babesa Primary School, when we used to joke around and laugh at silly things till we run out of breath. “Hahaha, I still remember what you did that day!” He laughed so hard again. But, I got no clue what he was referring to and I don’t remember anything, “Please, tell me what did I do that day, that made you laugh so hard?” I asked him, because I know I might have done something crazy; for I used to do that kind of stuffs only. “The bedding? Do you remember the bedding?” He laughed out words loud on my face. But no, I swear, I don’t remember anything. I knew I should drag him for some tea and dig out the story then and there, and so I did.
“You see, I have got a very sharp memory,” he started with a typical self praising. “Do you remember, our late teacher madam Tshomo?” “Oh, yes, aie R.I.P.” I chanted some prayers for her. “Do you remember Environmental Science (EVS) home work she gave us in class 3?” My goodness, his question made me believe he really has a sharp memory. “Class 3? Are you kidding me, that’s like 20 plus years ago and how do you expect me to remember the EVS homework?”I questioned as an answer. He laughed so hard this time also and nearly spilled the tea on the table. Now I was more curious to know!
“Hahahahaha,” his laugh started to make me eat my brain now. “Please, tell me brother!” I pushed him. “Okay, okay,” and he laughed again. “That day, you know,” he paused to laugh another round. “Ah, come on!” I had to hold him. “A day before that day we were given an EVS homework to do.” Again, he broke out into laugh….. “Zai, wai, please tell me I am dying to hear!” His laugh sank me, I thought he didn’t hear me so I pretended to get up and order something to eat. Then he continued, “A day before that day we were given an EVS homework, but you had not done it.” He was running out of breath laughing but started, “And when she asked, ‘Why didn’t you do it? You said, ‘I don’t get time to do home work walking to and fro school.’” He ran out of breath, “Then she said, ‘Why don’t you bring your bedding and sleep in the class,’” He laughed so hard, he had tears in his eyes, “And the very next day, you actually brought the bedding to class, hahahahahahahahaha!” “Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha.” We laughed so so so loud that folks in the other table started to look at us. We didn’t mean to but, we could not control. “Hahahahahahahahahahaha.” He made my evening.
People say the very place we live in, is a very small world, but sometimes it is ages before you meet those people you have known long long long time ago. Never hold grudges or hurt them or hold anything if you want to tell them, because we never know; we might never meet them again to say, “Hi or sorry!”
My childhood friend and I, we met after seventeen years!