Grounds to Play
My family will be moving into a new neighborhood soon.
Last Saturday, we visited the new house to see the contractors fix in the light fixtures in the living room and the media room. After twenty minutes of watching and scrutinizing the contractors at work, Ma sat on the staircase to read Vogue Living, while Pa stared at the garden from the balcony, probably devising a mental blueprint on where to plant the orchids. My ten-years-old brother and I, on the other hand, immediately escaped the madness by going to the playground nearby our new home.
We went straight to the swings, and we laughed as we swung higher and higher. “I’m flying to the moon!” my baby brother hollered. I laughed harder. Seconds later, I noticed my baby brother slowed down his swinging pace to watch these two small girls cycle into the playground.
Your girlfriends? I asked.
“Shut up”, my baby brother said. I laughed again.
The little girls cycled towards us and then stopped. They stared at my baby brother. They quickly glanced at each other and then cycled away. That was creepy, I thought.
Minutes later the playground was dotted with little boys and girls, and I noticed how quickly my brother ran into one of the soccer games and played. I sat on the swing, alone, and wondered whether I would make any new friends in this new neighborhood.
But honestly, I thought to myself, when was the last time I made a new friend?
Let me think.
You got to be kidding me.
Maybe it is my fault that I have not made a new friend lately. I am not a snob, if you are thinking that, but I have to admit that it is quite difficult now days to meet anyone new that jives with my wavelength. For example, I love to laugh. There are, however, some people who I have met recently who would say things like, “Wow, you love to laugh huh?” And the strangest part is that it sounded like it was a bad thing, like I had rabies and had peeling scabs off my face. That’s just absurd.
I love to laugh. So what. It’s my thing. So leave it the fuck alone.
Okay, perhaps this sort of attitude won’t make me new friends. But I guess I have come to a place where I feel like I do not need to resort to being a person that fits to someone else’s standard. If I want to laugh, let me be. If I want to pick my nose, you better let me be. But, if I have to act and behave according someone else’s guidelines, I rather walk out and not even bother to start the friendship in the first place.
I guess this is the reason why I hold on to my friends because they let me be me. And they have been there for me. They say “will be there” when I texted them for lunch on Sundays. They say “I am so sorry” when I tell them my brother had an asthma attack. They say “it is okay” when I tell them my heart was broken. And because of this, I consider them as my friends.
“Hey,” my baby brother said to me, with trails of sweat falling down his face. “I want to go inside for a drink. Thirsty.”
You had fun?
“Yeah he said,” as he waved to the kids at the soccer field.
“Yeah,” he panted.
I took his hands and we walked back to our new home, with me keeping silent that when he grows up, his definition of a friend will truly change.