Today I had lunch with a friend whom I’ve known from secondary school. After SPM I went off to another country to do my degree, only to come home once a year (during the summer holidays) to be told by Mom that one of my friends dropped by. And each time he came by, I wasn’t home.

It’s one of those perks of living at a shophouse that is between the airport an the town, your friends could easily stop by.

Many years later I got to know it was him.

Now we see each other often and pretty much have catched up where we left off. Most of the time we would get together with other old friends and new friends we’ve made along the way.

Eveybody seems busy now, and I’ve not met most of my friends for sometime, so whenever I have the opportunity (passing by their residential areas or not being in a rush) I would try to make a point to have coffee and a quick catching up a few of them if not all.

Old friend are like gold, as the saying goes.

My friend is an avid cyclist nowadays, competing in cycling events and duathlons, and cycles almost everyday. We used to ride together, but my back pain took the best of me so I kind of have a good excuse for taking a break for while.

Back in the old days (like, last year) during cycling events we would ride off together with our cycling group but would finish off differently since I would opt to finish last (it’s a lot easier than trying to win the race).

Well, it’s been too difficult to catch up with the rest of my teammates anyway.

Over lunch he told me how he got 7th place instead of sixth during yesterday’s duathlon (running and cycling) event.

He was on the last lap of the final running section when he overtook a guy. He was faster and made quite a big gap between them.

Now he was happily running his cadence when suddenly the guy catched up and appeared next to him, 50 meters from the finish line!

“I was going to make a dash, but then I saw the guys’s face,” he said enthusiastically.

“He was really, really trying. As if trying hard to retake the position he lost to me back there. He was really struggling and I could see it.”

“So what did you do?,” I asked.

“I let him pass.”

“You let him pass? No way!”

Knowing him, I would bet 300% he’ll make a dash to the finish line and leave the guy in smokes (yeah, he’s the competitive type).

“I let him pass. At that moment I realised that it doesn’t make much difference whether I get sixth place or seventh. But I knew that to him, it’s like winning the race.”

My friend finished just after the guy by mere milliseconds.

“Funny thing, even though I only get the 7th place, it felt like I won the race. Seriously. This is finishing a race at a different level. He even hugged me afterwards!”

Ironically, Pixar’s CARS came out on tv the day before. I told him about how Lightning McQueen finished the race by stopping right before the finish line and went back to help push the reigning champ who was badly damaged by their rival’s foul play.

Only that this is not to that extreme.

We laughed as I wiped my happy tears (not sure because of the CARS story or his).

It’s nice to have lunch with old friends once in a while, you know – just to catch up.

Latfy A. Latif
Thirdforce Media

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