That thought was quickly dispelled when John became aware of something coming towards him from out of the dark above the beach. At first, it seemed mostly a shadow. Drawing closer, it was seen to be a man. John could just make out that he was wearing a jacket opened at the front. In the darkness, it had no colour. John wondered why he seemed to come out of nowhere and apparently specifically to meet with him. The man kept coming until he stood before John but kept his distance. He appeared to be reasonably well dressed. John did take a passing glance at the flipflops worn on the man’s feet. Flipflops or not, he was unlikely to be a poor fisherman living in the area. He saw that he was not a large man, rather thin, but typical in size for a Filipino male. The man’s general appearance gave no cause for John to feel intimidated. However, he still felt uncomfortable.
“Hello,” greeted the man. John returned the greeting while assessing that by all appearances the man seemed legitimate and friendly. But, could he be something more than that? John thought warily. Why did he come out onto this now dark deserted beach? He sensed that the man was sizing him up too. ‘But what for?’ wondered John. Some star light broke through a short-lived opening in the clouds and he had a glimpse of the man’s face. It was high cheek-boned and his eyes dark. His face did not reveal anything amiss.
“You are an American?” he asked softly.
“No, a Canadian,” John responded evenly.
“Have you been in the Philippines for long?”
“Oh, fairly long,” John said somewhat evasively.
“Do you like it here?”
“The Philippines is a very beautiful country.”
“There is a lot of poverty though,” the man stressed.
“That is true.”
“Where do you stay?” he then asked.
“Near the city centre,” John again being ambiguous. He was being watchful in what he said, however, he also realized that Filipinos will in friendliness ask such questions. It shows that they are really interested in the person that they meet. However, it still seemed a strange setting to be communicating with someone you had never met before on a lonely beach in the darkness. And where did the man come from? He seemed to come out of nowhere.