Jaco and Mano were best of friends since they were young. They used to play in the hills. They were lying in the grass and together watching the sky.
"I hope we could stay like this forever Jaco," Mano said while gasping.
Jaco just laughs with a teasing answer.
"We can't stay young forever Mano."
Mano got annoyed and threw a branch with leaves to Jaco and said, "I'm being serious you know."
"Okay, okay," and Jaco started playing the flute from the leaves. It created a cold sound but sweet because of its sharpness. Then Mano started playing the flute as well as they were creating a melody for them to enjoy the time.
That was the last time they were together. It's funny because Mano used to be so dramatic but as of now, he was the one thinking about how they were before. They got separated when the war has started decades ago. Both their parents were searching for a place to hide from the soldiers and explosions. Since then they didn't saw each other because it's dangerous to go outside. Their usual lifestyle had changed because of that war. Their happiness as youths were being taken. They only did were just hiding all of their life during the war.
The war ended for quite a while now. Jaco is hoping that he could see his best friend. He's hoping that Mano is still safe and well. He misses Mano and their time playing the flute from the leaves. Jaco has been away from their hometown because he was working abroad. When their country was being tortured by that war. He thought that staying in his country to work was hopeless. Their lands were being ripped out and huge companies were bankrupt. He then decided to work abroad and just go back home when he can save more money to use. He is still planning to stay from their hometown and will work their lands there. He just needs money to make his dream come true.
5 years of working abroad without going home. Jaco made it, he didn't go home because he has no family left. They were all died during the war. Jaco is excited to go home and when he arrived in their town Macrohon. Their old house still far but he could smell and see their house. Not literally he can but he just feels it. His excited how their place looks like now but also he's hoping to see his old friend Mano. He's thinking to tease him again but not that much because they're already adult. This will be different but you know friends.
Jaco arrived at their old house. It's broken and damage already because of war. He tried fixing it but there's no helping for it. Although he wanted to restore their old house like before. It will not happen because of so much damage. He just then decided to let the strong post stand and the design will be the same. He is doing it slowly because he's planning to rent people in working when fixing the house . He wanted to do it alone in removing it because he might saw valuable things or treasures they have with his family. By picking things Jaco's tears slowly falling in the ground.
"I miss them," he said to himself.
Each day of removing debris and unnecessary materials in their house neighbours come to help. Unlike before, too many people were around but for now only a few neighbours. Even so, he is very happy because little by little the old tradition of Filipinos is coming back. The "heroism" or helping one another for free. Cast in Jaco's face of happiness by just having a conversation with everyone. He offers snacks as thanks for helping him and has some conversation. Talking about their every family and asking about whose children were they when war still going on. Jaco thought it's fun, it's really fun to have those people from before.
1 month of working in Jaco's house, at last, it was finished. Then he started roaming around in their place. He climbs into hills where they were playing before with Mano. This place has full of memories to Jaco. He is sitting there while watching the beautiful sunshine. He saws Mano watching him smiling. He also plays the leaves to make a sound.
"Don't tell me you forgot doing this, Jaco?" Mano said.
"What do you think of me, Mano?" He replied and picked leaves to play as well. As the leaves start to make a sound. Jaco is in the zone of playing the leaves. He starts off feeling the nice music that plays like a flute. He closed his eyes while shaking his head as following the rhythm of the sound. The old feeling he had before came back. He's smiling while playing it and so happy of it. The smell of his memories from before and the feeling of happiness before. It all coming back to him and it gives so much joy to him.
He stops playing and open his eyes. Mano is not there. It's just his imagination because of missing his friend so much. He began to be emotional as his tears slowly falls down while he is smiling.
"Where are you now Mano?" A question of his loneliness.
Jaco immediately wipes his tears when he heard footsteps that were made a sound from dried leaves. When he looks back it's a young boy. Maybe 8-10 years old kid and he stunned for a moment because of very surprised. He is happy seeing this kid.
"Mister, can you teach me how to play that leaves?" Kid asked.
"Sure, why do you want to learn it?" Jaco asked with something in his mind wants to confirm.
"Because my father used to play it to me." Kid answered.
I'm so happy when the boy said to me his answer. I'm sure his father is Mano because this kid is a lookalike with him when we were young.
"What is your name boy?" Jaco asked while smiling.
"My name is Jaco Mister. My father told me he had a friend so very dear to him and because he couldn't see him anymore. He wanted me to have his name so he can call me by that name and at the same time, he calls his friend." The kid replied and Jaco burst into tears after hearing it. He couldn't believe that his friend Mano is missing him so much like what he feels as well.
"Okay, before I'll teach you please bring me to your father," Jaco said with excitement in his eyes to see his old friend.
"Sure Mister," The kid replied while handing his hand to Jaco.
They are walking in going to Jaco's best friend. Jaco feels like he can't wait anymore so he carries the child in his shoulder and walks faster.
"Just tell me if I got the wrong path, okay?" Jaco said to the kid and the kid said, "wait, we're getting far. Jaco is wondering how they are getting far when they are just leaving in that place for a few steps. Jaco put the kid in the ground and the kid is leading the way. They are walking at the back of the tree then the kid pointed into the roots of the tree. Jaco is looking around but he saw no one in there. Jaco wants to make sure if the kid knows where his father.
"There's no one in here?"
"Father was buried here, Mister. He died 2 years ago and he wanted to be buried here. Mom and I didn't understand why he wanted here." The kid said calmly.
I know why he wanted to be buried here. This is the place we used to stay and we used to play. Jaco cry and cry while playing the flute from leaves. The kid looks confused about why Jaco is crying so much that he kneels.
"I'm your father's friend Jaco. My name is Jaco too. I will teach you how to play the flute from leaves." Jaco said to the kid and he hugs the kid tightly.