Friday, July 6, 2012

Tears over a lamb shank kare-kare

On Wednesday I had a long-overdue lunch with my friend M. We'd both been away for so long and just yesterday, on the spur of the moment, we decided to meet up for lunch at Cafe M in Greenbelt. M and I go back a really long way so even if we don't meet as often as I wish, it's like time hasn't stood in the way.

There are a couple of friends I feel like that about, and some are very old friends and some are on the new side. If you've been reading this blog, you already know about my old friends A and S, who've come to my rescue in more ways than I can count. And there's another A in the States and my dear friend B. I miss both of them terribly, even if I hardly ever have the opportunity to tell them so.

But even if I don't see them very often, I know they're there -- and that's what counts.


Well, Wednesday was a very nice and enjoyable lunch with M. We ordered the lamb shank kare-kare because I'd been away in Europe for close to two weeks and this was my first proper Philippine food -- if you can call lamb shank in kare-kare sauce Philippine food, that is.

Actually, it was my first meal in days. For some reason, I hadn't really felt like eating at all in days, so my last real meal was lunch in Prague and a spoonful of dinner on the airplane on the way to Istanbul from Prague on Sunday night. That's almost three days of no food.

I didn't eat in the lounge in Istanbul nor on the long-haul from Istanbul to Hong Kong, nor during the six hours I was waiting for my flight at the lounge in Hong Kong. And since arriving in Manila very late Monday night, I hadn't really eaten anything until lunch on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, lunch was also accompanied by tears.  I got really teary-eyed about three times over the kare-kare right in the middle of Cafe M on Wednesday.


Twice, we talked about my dad, who passed away last year, and that really made me teary-eyed. I can't even remember how this got into the conversation but it did. If you've been through this -- and we all will -- you know those tears will never really stop.

Then I started crying because of the goodness of my friends. Life's very good to me in general, but on a few rare times it's not been fair -- I guess you can't always have it all -- and one of those times was about three weeks ago, when I came face to face with the evil and greed of humanity.

I really didn't know what to do simply because I've never really had to deal with a dirty world before. Some of my friends say I live a charmed life, and in that sense, perhaps I do. Because when I came face to face with evil and greed, I had no idea how to handle it.


One of my friends came to my rescue. At exactly the right time, just when I was feeling that the world was caving in, he called me on my mobile and said six magic words: "Let me handle this for you."

I've already written about this in a previous blog entry; but for those who haven't read this entry, let me recount that I received this call on June 12 while I was in a restaurant with a lot of people. And those six simple words were all I needed and wanted to hear. These were such a comfort to me that I had to bite my lip hard to keep from bursting into tears.

And last Wednesday, recounting everything to M made me cry all over again. How grateful I am to have such good friends. M understood exactly what I meant, and said to me: "Everyone needs to feel taken care of once in a while, even if in reality you can usually take care of yourself."

And how nice it was to catch up with M, and talk, laugh and cry all at the same time, over lamb shank kare-kare and a delicious caramel cake.


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