23 Dec 2012

2 Days to Christmas

"'Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la laaaa, la laaa la laaa!"

Sure he may have looked like some bumbling idiot singing that out loud. He didn't care though, because he had the right to enjoy the season to the fullest. C'mon, it was the time of giving and spreading joy! The stifling clothes and scarf won't deter him from expressing his feelings physically!

He wouldn't have known this joy if he hadn't met a certain classmate in college who would become one of his best friends. That friend had such an optimistic outlook on so many things in life, it gradually infected him like a pathogen. And he liked it: so many of his worries became easier to deal with, and his life turned a full 180 degrees from that point.

As he skipped merrily along the pavement, garnering even more stares from puzzled onlookers, the merry fellow pondered: where was that friend now? After being in the same classes for so many years, they ended up separated since graduation, and he couldn't find the address of the new house. It would be quite a bizarre coincidence if they should meet now...

...hang on. Was that the friend? He could almost certainly recognise the person... what the heck, he took the chance to be flat out embarrassed in public (as though he wasn't embarrassing himself already with his prancing and fa-la-la-ing). 

"YO SNOWY!"

The stranger stopped in his tracks, quickly turning towards the source of the noise.

"...Terry?"

"Oh my go– is it really you?!?"

"Oh wow. Long time no se–"

Terry was already charging towards him like a mad bull, ready to embrace 'Snowy'. The latter was totally caught off guard by the sudden hug and almost stumbled.

"SNOWY! I WAS JUST THINKING OF YOU!"

"...I bet you have! Could you tone it down a little though? You're scaring some of them."

Indeed he was, as the crowd was seen parting away from the two men, like they were avoiding a disease.

"...sorry. I can't help it, I'm just too excited to see you again! Where have you been, man?!?"

"I'll explain things along the way... how about we just take a walk, if you're not busy?"

"Oh sure sure sure! I was already free. It's certainly time we had a chat, huh? I've got a lot to tell you about!"

"As do I. This sure is going to be a long stroll..."





"...and so I finally managed to get the job after that ridiculous interview!"

"That's great, Terry! After all this time you made your dream come true!"

"Well not all of my dreams came true. For one, I was quite saddened when you suddenly disappeared after our class graduated. I thought we'd be able to stay together in an apartment as buddies!"

"Right. I was about to go onto that... the short answer is it was due to business reasons."

"Business? That's kinda drastic, to suddenly cut all ties from those around you."

"It wasn't my choice unfortunately. It's a family business. My job requires that nobody must know what I am actually doing..."

"Whoa, what are you, some kind of spy???"

"I won't take such an extreme occupation, Terry! But it is similar in that a lot of secrecy is involved..."

Terry heaved a sigh as the two stopped at a traffic crossing, waiting for the green man.

"You know, Dominic, you have been keeping an awful lot from your friends even in college, even from me. Are you sure you don't have family problems or debt or–"

"Oh heavens no! It's really that I can't let everybody know what I do. Not that I'd endanger anybody's lives by revealing my secret, but that doing so would render this job useless."

"Then why are you still doing this job??? You can just leave and find a normal job that you're more comfortable with."

"...you of all people I've met should know why. Remember what I told you the last time I was at your house party?"

"...'What's better and what's right aren't always the same.' You mean you believe you're doing something good through this 'mystery work' you're committing to?"

"I know I'm doing something good."

The green man lit up, and the two continued their walk through the streets.

"Alright, I won't question any further. Right now I'm just glad to have met you again, just so I can thank you properly."

"...for what, Terry?"

"For putting me on the right track when I first met you."

"When did I ever do such a thing like that?"

"But you did! Before you came along I was such an emotional wreck. I was getting bullied, which affected my grades severely, and made my parents terribly anxious and angry at me. I was even contemplating suicide–"

"You were? Looks like you kept quite a few things from me too..."

"I only felt like telling you now because it was so long ago. I'm not the person I was back then anymore. And it was because you were the only one who cared enough for me."

"Well... I couldn't leave a crying boy in the lurch like that. It was only right for me to help you out!"

"Yet so many people ignored me back then. You were the only one who thought I could still be salvaged from my terrible state, which surprised me. Not even the teachers gave more than a brief glance at me. You made it clear that I still mattered in some way to the world."

"Everybody matters in some way. For some it may not be obvious immediately, but each individual can still contribute in a meaningful manner to a specific area."

"It wasn't just that! I saw how you handled yourself even when you got teased with your hair... you somehow managed to roll along with it. You even turned it into your cool unique feature of yourself. And you still showed kindness and generosity to schoolmates, including those who teased you in the first place. That was what gave me hope that I could still survive and bounce back!"

"Oh come on Terry, you give me too much credit! You yourself were also responsible for your progress! Only you alone could put in the effort to make it all work."

"Still, I feel like I should repay you somehow. If I hadn't met you, I may not be where I am today."

"Actually, I think I'm the one who should do the repaying!"

"Huh? Since when did you owe me anything?"

"Well, I always missed out on the Christmas events that you were at, including the Christmas Prom where you won the title of Prom King..."

"Oh don't worry about that! That was such a silly contest anywa–"

"I don't mean the contest. I mean that I want to make up for my absences by inviting you to my Christmas night party."

"...Really?!?"

"Yeah sure! And you're right, I've been keeping too many things from you all these years. So perhaps that night would also be a nice opportunity to let you in on some things. It seems fair, considering how much you've opened up to me."

"That's.... THAT'S AWESOME!" Terry exclaimed as he jumped into the air with glee.

"Whoa there! Calm yourself! I'll put down my new home address for you!"

Dominic quickly scribbled into a notepad and ripped a page out of it, passing the wad to Terry.

"Oooh, so you live there... I wouldn't have guessed that at all. Doesn't seem to suit your personality!"

Dominic smiled. "Just wanting to experience different sights and sounds, that's all."

"I can't wait to see you that night! I'll be sure to bring you presents!"

"Sure thin– oh dear!" Dominic glanced at his watch. "I've got to rush off now. Urgent business matters!"

The two at last separated, waving and smiling at each other. Dominic quickly dashed off, slowly disappearing before Terry's eyes.

I'm glad you're finally opening up to me too, Snowy!

And so Terry continued his merry skipping along the pavement. Where he was going didn't matter. 

"Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer... had a very shiny noooooose..."