“They’ll find and kill me soon,” he said.
I don’t know what happened to him.
All I know about him is from what he told me in a brief conversation at a hostel in an ordinary, residential part of Manila, Philippines.
Some people give you a strong impression no matter how brief a particular encounter with them may be.
He’s one of such people. Among everyone I met during my vagabonding days last year, if you ask me, he stands out.
But no, I don’t remember much about him. The reason why I remember him is because of his story. I don’t even remember the exact things he said. But, he stands out.
His story goes like this. If I remember correctly. That is, I do remember the outline, but not the details. Heck, I don’t know if his story is.
He was a gambler from South Korea. He would work in his home country for some time, and then spend some time gambling in Philippines. He might have told me how old he was, but I don’t remember. Probably in his late 30s or early 40s.
Apparently he got into trouble with some local gangsters or mafias, and they were chasing him. That’s why he was staying at a hostel, somewhat out of the central areas of Manila. Not somewhere close to those chasers.
We drank beer together one night in the lounge of the hostel. Well, “lounge” sounds fancy, but it’s just a room with a couch and a TV. Where we were was one of the cheapest hostels for backpackers and the like in Manila.
I don’t remember how I reacted to his story, but I don’t think I took it casually. It’s easy to imagine that situation again… imagine myself being rather speechless and not knowing what to say.
He looked rather depressed. Yeah, for sure. Imagine some people are after you so they can get rid of you from the earth. To erase you like a piece of trash.
There’s another thing he told me.
He told me he was happy that night, despite him being worried about what might happen to him. He told me he had never talked to other guests… or strangers in this kind of hostel environment.
“I should have talked to others… it’s fun,” he said.
He left the hostel next day.
I hope that he managed to escape from whoever or whatever that was chasing him and that he started talking to more people.
But, in all honesty, I have no idea what might have happened to him.
All I know is that I had a brief conversation with him over a can of beer, and he stood out among people I met last year.