He was standing at the porch that day, waiting for me to come home. He has always been a brat for that. He said today he’s going to teach me our math lesson, apparently because I scored the lowest on our exam while he did fair. But I knew he only wanted to tease me out of it.“Here comes the genius” His arms were interwined with his body while he stood next to the porch, giving me a wicked smile.
I tried to roll my eyes to give him an answer but because I was all tired. I walk past through him without any acknowledgement. How can he be so rude on such a tough day?
Amused with my response, he tried to mock me by trying to tickle me. I laughed and dropped my books on the floor. I pushed him away and he almost fell on the floor as well. We both continued to laugh while he helped me pick up my books.
That was how we were. I’ve always been comfortable with it. I’ve known him since we were kids. He was was my outlet. My partner in crime during exams. The one who pushed me on the field to run, who picked me up when I stumbled, who wiped my tears away when I was sobbing. My best friend. My childhood memory.
Then I don’t know what happened.
After our summer break, it felt like Peter vanished. He stopped sitting next to me in class, never attended any of our house gatherings, never invited me over, never talked to me like before. He said he was busy. I thought he really was, so I never dared to ask him why. I thought time will help us out.
Another group of friends came and I got no chance to contact him. God, How come I’ve been so stupid all these time? We graduated after that summer and then next was college which meant a bussier life for all of us. I wanted to enter a good university so I consumed myself on studying. I lost it all together with him.
Peter died after I moved in to college.
I did cry for weeks but I must admit, for a small splitting while, I really did forgot all about it.
That’s it. It is where I missed it.
I see Peter today in his old faded pants. He looked right into my eyes asking, begging. It felt cold again like I the way I felt back when I was standing at the podium to give my eulogy. My heart was freezing. I wish I could dissolve myself because I couldn’t answer his eyes.
In my head I thought, is that how we lose contact with other people? Is that how we lose them along the way? I never bothered to ask why when I’ve move on with my life. It feels sad. It felt like I cut the remaining pieces that ties us up together.
I took a small step forward. He whispered. “Come”.
I wish that as we grow older, our hands could get bigger so we could hold more people in our palms than we normally do. I hate to see unuttered goodbyes and broken friendships pile up because of lack of communication.
Let’s admit it, we all are busy but what could a little message of ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ do, right? It could change our pathetic longing for companionship when we keep complaining that we are all alone.
Stop for a while and contemplate on this: Have we ever tried to do something about it? When someone reaches out for us, have we ever tried to reach back? Or have we ever tried to do the first move to savage a failing relationship? We call it busywork. I call it pride. We say that only the true one’s stay. I call it arrogance.
I took Peter’s hand and it felt warmer. It was like the way we used to hold hands when we were younger. I breached out the connection that separates us. His eyes turned brighter and avidly livelier as we continued to walk. Has he forgiven me?
I think that his world is better now. He said I could stay there with him. He gave me a tour on the field and we saw the bright blue skyline along the trees with the humming birds. It was like running back and forth to catch up all the time we wasted because he was sick and I was too self-absorbed.
At noon time, we sat by the river bank while singing the melody of Air Supply. When we finished, I asked him the most silly question that popped in my mind. “Am I dead too?”
His faced turned serious and there was sadnesss all over his face again. “Remeber the beach?” He said softly. Gazing away to watch the sunset.
The water in the river started to accelerate in depth reaching to knee level. I stoked at the moment then I hardened. Gasping for air, I remembered: I died.