One of a very few things that made me look forward to going back home was seeing my old friends. A year is quite a long time, and add 6-7 hours time difference to that, things could be a bit rough.
Flashback to 6 years ago, the first time I recognized him was when he stripped down his pants in campus at around 2 pm, revealing a red boxer with hearts pattern. That image, unfortunately, has never left my mind since then. He was still a guy with funny boxer to me, until 2 years later when we became the committee for LFM. Since then on, he’s been a really good friend.
The thing about being the committee, is that it put us through various circumstances, and thus, a wide range of emotion. He let me snap when I needed it (‘I know you have to let it out to calm down’), or sometimes he told me to calm down. We continue to share stories and life updates after that, even after I moved to the UK. He knows when to give me tough love and tell me not to be such a crybaby, and when to let me cry and just listen (literally listen to me sobbing hysterically). Over the course of years, he’s built enough trust with his analyses that I always listen to him and do what he says, because I know that would get me far. He’s the brain I use when I need to think like a guy, and that brain is brilliant.
Upon my arrival, he posted a picture of me on Instagram, with a caption, ‘Welcome home @dixiezetha! Let’s drive all night long to nowhere again!‘ Back in my college years, whenever I had a really bad day and needed an escape, I would say, ‘Let’s go somewhere,’ (usually around midnight, after we had a long chat over snacks on campus). He would voluntarily drive through the night to some random places while I sat on the passenger seat, listened to the radio and blankly stared at the window. Most of the time I would be quiet, only talked intermittently between random thoughts, but he was okay with that.
Five days after I set foot in Jakarta, he told me that he was leaving by the end of February. That feels like another joke the universe was playing on me, sending my close friend off to a faraway land just a month after I came back. Last Friday we were talking about a farewell lunch for him on Sunday, when he suddenly said, ‘I don’t think I can make it. I’m leaving on Sunday, it’s just decided.’ So that was it, and it felt like sometime in 2013 when he told me that he would be going on an expedition in Arafura Sea for 2 months without signal. He casually said, ‘I’m leaving in 2 days.’ Both times, I thought he was joking, then when I realized he wasn’t, I was so shocked that I was speechless for the next couple of hours. We’ve planned to travel to east Indonesia since way before I left, and we’re definitely not gonna make it. Not for another 2 years, at least. But since he will be in New Zealand for the next 2 years, I think I have enough time to save up and move the adventure a bit to the south. He’s the true definition of an adventurer, and I know he’ll have a fabulous time there. And with any luck, I might visit him.
So Ai, have fun and go mad!