While others found sobriety in their sleep, his was a somber retreat. Four weeks passed and the shock still lingers like jawbreaker. Sour. Sad. Disbelief. How could’ve he chosen a painful death?
It was cinematic; his body hanged in front of a dim stair unwelcoming of any pity nor tears. He didn’t plan to die, not then. He had tasks to do, relationships to fix, friends to come home to, college graduation to look forward to. But he died. Maybe he was destined to. Was he able to unburden himself? Was he guilty for doing it? Was he happy? Sure, he was loved. Sympathy and condolences poured in right after and I knew he was grinning like he used to when he did something mischievous.
I was not one to question his motive. His was a broken heart that failed to pick up the debris of a fallen relationship. Maybe it was doomed from the start or he was haunted by the mistakes in the choices he made, we were not apt to judge. We were not close friends in the first place. He was an eye candy from college past, an artist who loved taking photographs and smoked at the school building’s lobby. I assumed he was a narcissist, he loved being worshipped by other men and I envied him for that.
The last I saw him, he cheefully greeted me during my film’s premiere night. That long. I remembered him smile then hugged me, hoping he was proud we knew each other. Extreme it is to say that we were estranged but sure, there was a space between. We revolved around the same orbit but somehow we didn’t manage to ride on the very axis that made us common. But still, a death is a death and I don’t want people dying just like that. I felt sorry for his wasted existence but I felt more sorry for myself who failed to explore his friendship. It wasn’t easy getting over it.
Death is not what the fairy tales of our childhood subscribe to. We aren’t even sure we’ll have our souls back after ceasing to breath. But death brings us back to the very basic foundation of life. A reflection of how we’ve lived and how we should live from now on. Did he find the solution? I don’t think so. But for me and the hundreds of other people who knew him, he taught a striking lesson that dying deserves to be feared like I always did. If he thought what he did mystified his reasons, for us whom he left behind, it gave birth to a becoming and found the strength to suck it up.
It’s really sad to think of people who die young. We know they still have more opportunities to exhaust, songs and music to listen to, places to travel to, food to enjoy, friends and family to love, a new generation to see. Living is painful. Death isn’t sweet either. We fail, we fuck up, we despair, we commit grievous mistakes, we make enemies. It’s something we have to deal with. It’s a familiar occurrence and surviving the not-so-good and miserable stuff of life becomes a habit. And therein lies the fun.
When one succeeds in choosing to die, there’s no going back. Good thing, we can’t say the same about life because there is an infinite attempt to live it better the next time around.