Saturday, May 20, 2006

What's up, Doc?

We met almost eight years ago in a journalism class. I knew I wouldn’t like you at first glance: frat boy, wealthy, smart. You sat slouched in the last row and I was perched in the first. A nervous freshman, I eagerly raised my hand and furiously took notes, while you preferred the I’ll-let-it-soak-in method of learning.

Then came the group work. Please form groups of two, Professor Libman commanded on the third day of class. I hated group work, even moreso surrounded by intellectuals who debated the forming of the European Union with their dark-rimmed glasses and barets—conveniently omitting me from discussion—and the anarchists vying to change America’s current state of yellow journalism. On that third day of class, I was left partnerless…and then there was you.

From that day forth, we formed a bond that has been unbreakable. Throughout the semester, we passed notes, doodled pictures of Professor Libman, and wrote campus newspaper articles together. The Bonnie and Clyde of Whittier College’s weekly periodical, if you will. After class, we’d head to the dining commons to eat an early lunch and talk about where we’d one day end up. Well, can you believe that ‘one day’ is here?

I sat in my chair next to JD tonight, while swirls of Vietnamese conversations hung in the air, and I almost cried. Well, okay, I cried, but it was disguised by my smile and the creases that formed around my eyes. In Vietnamese, your father and grandfather toasted your successful graduation from USC Medical School, and while I didn’t understand a single word, I felt how proud you made them. Pride and love transcends language, so I was able to decode their heartfelt congratulations.

And then there was you.

You got up from our table and walked to the microphone, while your father lowered the volume to Andrea Bocelli playing somewhere in the background. You began in Vietnamese, but finished in English for the benefit of your college friends watching from a distance. I bit my lower lip because I felt the pride and tears welling in my chest. The boy I thought I was destined to dislike on the first day of journalism class now stood before me as a doctor. The days we spent in your dorm room writing stories about the lacrosse team, tuition increases, and social events are behind us, and while this notion stirs a broth of melancholy in my soul, I’m so unbelievably happy to see where we’ll end up another eight years from now.

It seemed as if your genuine love and thankfulness seeped from the microphone and into the PA system because my ears tickled with your sweet words. Sweet words for your family. Sweet words for your friends. And sweet words for your beloved Marina. Listening to you thank Marina for her support gave free reign for my tears to fall. The unspoken love you share is beautiful and I’m honored to have shared in such an intimate declaration of gratitude.

Vince, I know you’ll read this, so I want to tell you that there was no where in the world I would have rather been tonight than sitting next to you, celebrating the next phase in your blessed life. JD and I are priviledged to call you a friend and we know that you will operate and cure with a heart of compassion. We LOVE you!


Blogger Michael said...

When you can write like that, why the heck are you a photographer!!!? Just kidding, your photography rocks too. You can tell how amazing a writer I am, using the word "rocks"... well my photography is better, I hope. I really like your work, and came to your blog to only be more impressed with your mellifluous loquacity. Hey that $80k I spent on college wasn't wasted.

11:32 PM  

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