Monday, October 24, 2011

a cold soup that warms

i wont forget this one way back during my college days.  a storm's been announced to be coming and we were advised to get home early.

after my last class rain's already pouring and wind's rather hard. by the time i reached the bus stop i was already soaking wet.  problem was,  it's difficult to get a ride.  two hours had passed and still i was there at the bus stop waiting.  storm's already beginning to lash.  scared, i decided i'll be better off passing the time away at the college until the storm's fury has subsided.  i went back but the security persons did not let me in despite my protestations and my explanation that it's really too difficult to get a ride home.  i even pleaded to them that i can stay just right there at the guardhouse.  yet, i just got an apology from them.  i understood.  they were just following orders.

i was frantic.  i cannot stay out in the streets.  i decided to return to the bus stop and brave the strong winds and the rains.  at the bus stop, i waited for a ride again. my patience was thinning but i can't do anything.  suddenly, i heard somebody call my name.  i turned around towards the direction of the voice.  i immediately recognized him as one of my classmates in my english class.  he was not a close acquaintance though.

"why are you still here?" he asked, "our classes have been dismissed almost three hours ago!"

"well, it's really difficult to get a ride home," i explained, "i've been waiting here for about two hours. i actually just came back here to wait further. i thought i could stay at the college but the guards did not let me in."

"oh i see. i think that's when i chanced to see you walking out of the gate. i decided to follow you and lend you an umbrella but you can't hear me over the wind and rain.  are you sure you can get a ride home at this time?" he asked with genuine concern.

"to tell you honestly," i answered, "i believe i won't be able to get a ride. the storm will start to get worse as i feel it."

"then stay with me for a while," he offered, "at least until the storm subsides."

i did not think twice when i heard this. "great!" i said, "thanks a lot."

we both hurried back to the dorm where he was staying. he talked to his landlady and explained my predicament.  the lady understood my situation and allowed me to stay.  my friend was actually renting a single occupant room and the dorm's rules were rather strict.  i was lucky.  i inwardly thanked the Infinite.

as i feared it, the storm did not subside immediately.  my friend and i holed up in that cramped room and passed the time discussing our assignments and then later, when the power was cut off and we can't read our notes and books, exchanged personal information so we'd know each other better.  we found out we have a lot in common most especially our love for books and information towards exploring the inner life, towards knowing the Inner Self.  by the light of a lone candle, we amused ourselves alternately playing his old guitar and singing our favorite songs and reciting stanzas from our favorite poems.

"i'm starved," he said.  he shoved the guitar to me, stood up and went out of the room.  after a few minutes he came back cupping a medium sized bowl in his hands. he handed me one of the spoons he was holding.

"this is soup. my leftover from this morning's breakfast." he explained.  "sorry, it's cold. i can't reheat it. we only have an electric stove at the common kitchen. let's eat!" he invited.  i smiled. i did not tell him while he was out i secretly counted my money hoping that i could give some to him so might be able to buy something. but alas! my money's just enough for my fare going home.

so we dug at that bowl of soup. honestly, if it was he who cooked it, it tasted terrible, especially since it was cold.  i did not dare ask though who cooked it.  his hospitality was more than enough.

the winds and rains finally subsided very late in the evening.  he offered to let me stay the night but i explained i  still have time to get home.  my parents were also waiting and since we don't have phone i was sure they were anxious for my return.  i thanked him for his help and much more for the newly forged friendship. i've known another kindred spirit.

on the bus on my way home, i suddenly burped.  i licked my lips.  there still was this awful aftertaste of that soup me and my friend had shared.  i smiled inwardly.  i again thanked the Infinite for the day's blessings.

my newfound friend's soup, it was cold, but, it was a cold soup that warms .. especially the heart.

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