For four hours we talked and laughed and rode a bike around Saigon and drank and even had some spicy frog soup. I was in a country where being white meant it was easy to meet people, to have them curious to talk to me, and I was determined to try to use that to make connections and talk to people, something I can't/won't/don't do at home, where I am just another washed up schmuck cocooned in his bedroom. It's nice to have friends in distant places, people you can communicate with to get fresh perspectives, people who can give you tips and advice and help you out when needed. I suppose that's what she is now, after four hours of talk, although 'friend' is loose and maybe we're more acquaintances. She messages me almost every day now, bringing up constantly me coming back, the things she wants to do with me (visit her hometown, eat lots of food, the usual I suppose) and thanks me profusely for making her laugh so much. We talk about work and life and what we're up to. It's nice.
I suppose, eventually, the talks will die down, the daily messages will become every other day, and then weekly, and then every other week, and so on. The reality is that flying across the Pacific Ocean is expensive. She has her own people she knows and hangs out with who don't require thousands of dollars just to visit. Eventually she'll be just another face on Facebook, another friend who could barely be counted as such, posting pictures of life and food and maybe getting married and having kids.
I was nervous when I first met her. But it was even harder to say goodbye. It was a goodbye knowing that we would probably never see each other again. A goodbye knowing that whatever friendship could have flourished there never will. A goodbye knowing that all these moments will eventually be lost to time, discarded, forgotten in old age. Whatever could have happened never will. Whatever will happen is all the more disappointing.