“For though I be absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5
he was simple, cheerful and selfless. his name was Boeing.
our first meeting was vague. it was years ago at the old duty-free shop in paranaque. i could barely recall how he looked like then. the second time we met was along king khalid st. here in al-khobar. he was shopping for gifts to take home to his family in pasig. the third time was during his farewell party at bangkok restaurant. he welcomed each lady so graciously with a long-stemmed rose. that was what i vividly remember, because i barely knew the guests at that time, though most of them were from the same company where Boeing and my husband bhoy worked. the next day, i texted him to thank him for the sumptous dinner and the great time i had. and also prayed for his safe trip back to the philippines and likewise, expressed sadness that we wouldn’t have the chance to know each other more intimately, because he had to leave saudi arabia when i just came two months prior.
i was wrong… Boeing came back after a few months to work in another company. and our friendship was born. thereafter, bhoy and i began to spend thursday nights with him and other close friends from acec. here in saudi, that was one of the safest way to keep one’s sanity and avoid endless, lonely homesick nights. we were then later called “thursday group”. the group decided what special dishes would be prepared and where we would ‘devour’ them. aside from food and drinks, we shared stories about our families back home, work-related experiences and our hopes and dreams after life in saudi. sometimes, we even had videoke sessions, no matter if we sometimes sounded like lost frogs in the desert.
but some good things never last. one after the other, some of those very good friends went towards different paths. then miguel, our son, came to live with us and study in andalus. thursday nights were never the same again. the “thursday group” was dissolved even before we could even think of a less corny name. but the friendship remained… and so did Boeing.
he advised me to apply for a job in the UK-based company he transferred to, but told me i had to wait. that time, i already had two other prospects but i trusted him to call me soon. but a month passed. and another. until finally, my patience ran out and went to be interviewed in a nearby hospital just a couple of blocks from our flat. the offer was good enough. and i was ready to accept it. so i called Boeing and told him about my plans. but he insisted that i wait. so i took the chance and waited. but this time not for long. he called me and took me to their office. he was very confident that i would get a better offer. and i did. he was really glad that we would work together. and for a year, we worked together… until that fateful eid holiday.
he was first confined in almana hospital on september 25. from then on, he was in and out of the hospital until he finally took his last flight out of saudi arabia in november. we were optimistic that he would get well before the end of his medical leave. but at dawn on december 7, Boeing passed away.
i realized now that true friendship is never measured by moments, or months, or years. it cannot be described by words, nor phrases, nor eulogies. the same profound friendship that Boeing and i shared. he may be physically gone. but i will always see him in every desert sand, in every date palm tree, in every bacoco fish. and whenever i look up to see the vast arabian sky, it is Boeing that i will see. smiling back at me.
i was told there is too much gold in saudi. it is true. but i found the purest and most priceless of all. his name is Boeing.