Sunday, 20 March 2011

Dear J,

It's been a couple of months since I last thought of you.

I don't think I ever voiced my thoughts about you to anyone before. But today I feel like the world should hear about a wonderful soul that left way too early.

Do you remember when we first met? I don't. Not really. My memories of you are fading, and you'll never know how much that bothers me. I can't remember your eyes anymore. Were they squinty or wide? They never look right when I try to imagine your face again. If I try really hard, I think I can remember the sound of your voice, calling my name. I always thought you were a late bloomer because your voice hadn't fully broke yet, but there were hints of how your voice would sound when you laughed.

You know, one of the best memories I have with you is of you, me and Rhesa laughing because all three of us were failing both Maths AND Physics. Remember how we had competitions on who'd get the best score on quizzes? And how we never passed a quiz, yet there was always a clear winner.. That was fun! I don't remember how you reacted when I said that I was dating Rhesa, but I can still remember your huge grin when you smiled and said "he still REALLY likes you!" when we broke up sometime after.

I can still see your hair. That's weird, right? That I can still clearly see that hair, when it frustrates me that I can't remember much else about your appearance other that your lips and hair. Your semi-mohawk. Not because you were trying to be cool, you didn't even do it deliberately! Your hair just grew weird like that.

But seriously, I miss the way you laughed.

My memories of you in our first year of high school is filled with laughter and high fives and those few weeks that you first dissappeared. Did I try calling you? Did I text you? I don't remember anymore. But you were suddenly gone, and no one knew where you went. I must have looked for you, right? I must have..??? Because school was weird without you. And you know I don't get along with the girls in our class. You disappeared sometime before the epic fight between me and the girls happened. It was.. funny. You would have enjoyed it, I think.

I'm sorry that I wasn't really around for you when you came back. But I just didn't understand. And you were in a different class. And you kept disappearing again. I remember people talking about you. How they didn't like it that you kept disappearing in the middle of a week-long group assignment. I tried telling them that you were always responsible and that you wouldn't have left without a good reason. And I always looked forward to seeing you permanently-covered head bobbing past my classroom doors.

I wondered about your hats. And your sudden weight gain, but we were in high school, and people's physical appearance changed fast. I wondered, and I know you tried to tell me once.. I'm sorry I didn't listen. When you said "Hey you know last night's Julia Roberts movie? Dying Young?", I knew instantly, I wanted so badly to un-hear it. I was f*cking scared. I didn't let you finish and we spoke about classes instead.

I'm sorry I walked away before I could hug you.

I'm sorry I'm such a shitty friend.

Some stuff went down that year. And I left Bandung. I never got to see you again, and that will always be one of my biggest regrets.

Hey J.. I was devastated when someone casually mentioned you had passed away. She went to your church, and she said you got sick again. I don't remember how I reacted to the news, but I remember how I cried that night. I'm sorry I wasn't there for you. You deserve a better friend.

Do you know I still think of you? Every few months. And I wonder what you would have become had your cancer gone into remission. I think you would have gone into IT or something related to computers. I don't know why, as I don't even remember if you were any good with computers. We wouldn't be in regular contact, because you know what I'm like.. But we'd drop each other lines from time to time. I imagine you would have grown into your thick, pouty lips, and your strange semi-mohawk. Your laughter would be loud and joyful, and that grin.. That grin of yours that lit up the room, it would have gotten you a really cute girlfriend. That much I'm sure.

I think of you at the strangest time.. like when I'm driving to work.. and always there's a pang, and a flashback of you laughing. Of all the things I'll forget in the coming years, I hope your laughter wont be one of them.

So J, I hope that somewhere out there you feel loved. You still have people that care, who think of you from time to time. The world lost out on a lot when you went.

Much love,


colson said...

We may not like it, but we can't help we - that is friends, team mates, colleagues, you name it- involuntary drift apart by powers we only control to a very limited extent.

This post is proof of it. A sad, but really endearing and beautiful written story. And the feeling it describes is, I think, universal. We all, at least I, at some stage in life, experienced a similar vague notion of guilt - of in some way having let down some old time friend.

It's good to remember. But there is no cause for guilt.

mousharilla said...