Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Khmer Valentine

It was just a usual day for me. Breakfast - work - meetings - home. I was already at the apartment resting, just checking emails and chatting with my roommate. I thought that it was just gonna be an ordinary day. I've never really given much attention to the seemingly festive, joyous and loving atmosphere today. With the exception of an email blast greeting which I sent to the whole office, I ignored everything Valentine-ish the whole day today. Me being cynical nowadays that is.

As I was chatting with a friend, I happen to glance at the clock area in my laptop and it says 7:45pm.  And I thought to myslef that my first Valentine's Day here in Phnom Penh will just be like any ordinary day. Great. It was just as I have expected.

Then my phone rang. The display says that the caller is Leap.

Meet Leap, my first Khmer friend. He is not, uuhhmmm, you know. He is a straight guy. Yes you read that right, he is s-t-r-a-i-g-h-t.

I pickep up the phone and pressed the answer button.

Me: Hello.

Leap: Get dressed. I am downstairs, in front of your gate waiting.

Me: What? Why?

Leap: I'm here to pick you up silly. We are watching a concert. Now hurry!

Me: Ok. ( in a suprised tone)

So I donned on jeans, a polo shirt and chucks. I ran-walk-ran-walk down 3 flights of stairs. I reached the gate and there he was, on his motorcycle waiting for me. The speed at which he drove and zigzagged his way in and out of the traffic always amazes me and terrifies me at the same time. The way these Khmer drivers drive here is crrrraaazzzyyyy.

We got to Koh Pich Theater in a matter of 15 minutes and made our way to our seats. Call me mean but I was not expecting anything extravagant with the buildings they have here. But hey, I was impressed by what I saw. The theater was new, modern. The stage was big and with the latest lighting system as well. The sound was also great. A big LCD screen was the backdrop and small LCD screens lined the wall of the theater.

Of course I did not understand a thing the Khmer singers were singing but Leap was kind enough to interpret the song meanings to me. The highlight of the concert was one Khmer singer who fell down the stairs and acted as if nothing happened, and she was still able to give a great performance.

After the concert, Leap took me to a seafood resto where we ate Cambodian porridge. It's like a Filipino goto but it has pork and fish combined.

I may not have enjoyed the concert that much but I enjoyed being with my good friend. I was really touched by his gesture and his being thoughtful.

After dropping me off at my apartment. I sent him a text message thanking him for inviting me out. He replied a few minutes later, I was already lying on my bed and about to sleep. He said he just wanted to see me happy and not lonely. And with those words I closed my eyes as a tear fell down ... I realized that no matter how hard I try to look happy, people still see through me. But the tear was not for that. The tear was a thank you tear, that someone cares.

Maybe, just maybe, I may believe in love again.