We’ve been colleagues in development work for a long time, but it wasn’t until 2003 that we became close friends. And such a loyal and honest friend she is. Unfortunately, as I made my way back to the Philippines in 2010, she was on her way to Canada to start a new life. We both are travelers whose paths rarely cross but it doesn’t in any way diminish our friendship. I wrote this poem while still in Cambodia and I asked a mutual friend to read this on my behalf on Joyce’s send-off party. I am posting this now at Joyce’s request.
If we were at Treehouse now
Maybe tonight when you’re done
Celebrating, after the last of post-prandial
Conversations have been exchanged,
The night will forget decorum
And reveal the profound sadness
I am keeping inside my heart,
Because you’re leaving. It is an arrow
Embedded in the flesh, much like the stories
We have shared through the years–
Tales of joy and grief, the love we gave
But didn’t always get back, as we made
Separate but parallel journeys in life.
But perhaps, more than the stories,
What we really have in common
Is this wanderlust, the need to remain
In constant motion. So this departure,
Being just one of the many,
Shouldn’t cause me trouble, but
It does and what can I do?
The fire that consumes our hearts
Is the same, lighting up the evening sky
In the city I’m also preparing to leave.
The whole world is before us, my friend,
And I miss the times we are together,
Weaving such stories of our lives.
As you make this yet another journey,
Remember to look at the sky,
Know that no matter how far off you go
I will always be within reach.
Phnom Penh, 2010