you know this alley very well. you grew up here, as a matter of fact. it reeks of the all too familiar smell of tanduay rhum that you first downed along with your childhood friends. it reminds you of the exhilarating scent of cigarette smoke, philip morris to be exact, because this was where you first tried to smoke as you huddled alongside first-time smokers like yourself. this place soaks you with melancholia, because under numerous majestic moonlights, you held the hand of a girl as you walked her home, talking about sweet nonsense, and believing in the promise of unrequited love.
you know their faces very well. you know those smiles and smirks as though they were your very own. you know these souls because they were with you when you first puked from having too much alcohol, or when you first became paranoid because of having too much weed. you know how they eased into adolescence, because you were with them when they serenaded their first girlfriend, or you helped them make their first love letter. you were once brothers, and that fraternal affinity, a long time ago, seemed all too natural it was almost trivial.
but now, the alley has been obscured by the passage of time. you no longer recognize the scents and sounds of familiarity. you stare into what was once an inherent part of you, but only a melancholic abstraction of ambiguity stares back at you. and the faces that used to be as constant as the stars have faded into a blur that have ceased to be part of you who used to be. they say that time has an uncanny ability of deconstructing what used to be familiar, and in your mind, you can only ask:
is it because they have changed, or is it because you have?