it was a starless night, but we could not care any less.
i was drifting away in my thoughts, just like always, and you were busy chipping off the big lump of ice that we would later on use for downing our poison of choice that night.
it was red horse, and even when that starless night happened three years ago, my memory of it is still pristine:
there was carlo, who was just starting his journey into alcoholism, therese's head was still crowned by her birthday tiara, and there was you, perenially holding your cigarette stick as though it was incapable of burning itself out.
we were at sted's silliman, and even when we were overdressed for beer and cigarettes, that really did not matter.
that night, for me, was when i saw how sad you really were.
yes, we laughed incessantly about our usual mundane musings, but even when you seemed to be genuinely happy, i knew that you were not.
there was a haunting sadness in your laughter, and even when alcohol was slowly warping us into a parallel universe where only our anecdotes mattered, i caught a glimpse of how your heart had been weeping incessantly.
there were even moments when, suspended in silence, you would just stare into nothingness. and each time you did this, i saw the abysmal depths that your spirit has sunk into.
you would puff your cigarette from time to time, you barely paused to give your lungs some breather. you held on to it like an important medicine that cured whatever was gnawing at your very core.
i even remember telling you to momentarily stop, but you were bent on being drowned by the fleeting wisps of smoke where everything, even your sadness, was shrouded by a thick cloud of randomness.
when i felt that the time for bidding had come, I politely asked to leave. but you would not hear any of it.
stay, because i don't know where to go.
stay, because i don't know where home is.
stay, because i don't want to be devoured by my thoughts.
stay, just stay.
even when you did not say these actual words, i felt that that was what you wanted me to hear.
where are we going?
i don't know. let's go somewhere that's not home.
let's go to silliman beach?
when we got there, carlo was his usual self. he quickly stripped down to his underwear, and plunged into the darkness of the sea's embrace.
there, in the shore, we smoked the last of the cigarettes.
how are you?
i don't know, really. life's pretty warped lately. but i think i'm okay.
you are always not okay, in my mind, when you say you think you are okay.
how's your parents? will you really be taking a hiatus this june?
i don't know actually. i have yet to think about that.
but silence that was pregnant with sadness that was so profound no words could ever capture how we had been ensnared and paralyzed by it. and even when neither of us verbalized the tragedy that was slowly itching its way into our very core, we knew that we were slowly devoured by existentialist death.
i remember taking a picture of myself with your camera. it was supposed to be a picture that captured my moment of breathing. you took it, and even when i looked demented from trying to exaggerate what my concept of breathing is, it was a picture that captured the emancipation that i yearned for from all things dark and brooding.
no, i want to welcome the sunrise here.
but my parents need me to be home now.
i want to stay.
no, you have to leave. it's not safe for you to be here.
okay, fine. let's go, then.
even when we were not able to see the first few streaks of sunrise that morning, how i wish i could have told you that things will be better after that night.
that we are meant for happiness, and that no matter how elusive, breathing is always inevitable.
that brokenness, even when gut-wrenching and palpable, is bound to end.
i love you, anna, and it warms my heart to see that finally, after three long years of temperance, we have managed to crawl our way out of the pit.