||[May. 21st, 2012|04:19 pm]
I’m trying to remember how we first met. It was during our web design days, right? One of us commented on the other’s guestbook in praise of the other’s website... Or was it on IRC? I forgot the beginning, but I remember it was a really fun time to be online. We had passions to pursue, not just memes or blogs or social networks with “friends” we don’t even know. People connected back then. Online friends became genuine friends. The internet was just a tool.
How did we end up being real life friends? It’s all so long ago, and all so vague. (Pardon me, I was never known for having good memory.) We hit the clubs and the street parties and talked a lot about books we read, music we listened to, things we wanted to do. We hung out a lot back then, no? We drank a lot, maybe a little too much, while disparaging dumb guys with our deadly wit. We’re a sarcastic bunch of alcoholics.
On my 19th birthday we watched Mean Girls, diba? That was a riot. Who knew people will still quote lines from it till now? And the movies you downloaded (in your room full of religious figurines)... Dude, you had really good taste. I mean, fine, there’s only so much Sailormoon I can take before it starts getting ridiculous. You were a huge fan of that anime. I loved Bunny Tsukino—whom you call by her real name, Usagi—but your fandom was intense. You downloaded everything: the series, the spin-offs, the live action series, the movie. Did you buy Sailormoon action figures? I think you did... I think I remember seeing some atop your TV or computer table. Wait, this was about your taste in movies. You showed me Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Shortbus. You were artsy before it was cool, you freaking hipster. We stayed up until morning drinking Red Horse and watching indie films or searching YouTube for videos of Jem and the Holograms. You also lent me your friend’s CDs of Queer as Folk. I still have it here somewhere.
We talked on the phone a lot, too. Mostly about my issues, then your issues, then how our issues were so similar. What a bunch of manic-depressives. Together we opened the floodgates of hate, drama, angst, bitterness, or any other sad emotion we stored inside our chests, then soaked in there like Japanese men in a hot sauna.
I wanted to say “Japanese” because you liked Japanese food. And cheesecake. You loved cheesecake. I don’t understand it, though. I agree it’s delicious, but your liking for cheesecake was kind of weird, perhaps even over the top. When I asked you one benefit of having a boyfriend, you said: “So someone can bring you cheesecake.”
But then again, you were weird. I was weird. The wiring in our brains were pretty messed up.
We both knew we weren’t normal people. We felt above those simpletons with their shallow ideas of human suffering. They think they know pain? Ha. Fuck them. We knew better, dammit. But like anything so overpowering, it got the best of us. (On the bright side, it made us write well. Design well. And, in your case, draw well.) Screwed as we are, we briefly talked about seeing a psychiatrist. I never went to one—even if I needed to, especially now—but you did. You hated it. Why? I never asked you why. I never delved deeper.
Don’t get me wrong, P. You’re a good guy. That much I know. Our intellectual arrogance never went beyond our private conversations, but we were too smart for our own good. Did we ask for so much? Were we too self-absorbed to see that this world is not just about our lives?
Yeah, I know... I’m lecturing again, as if I know better. You hated that, but you’re too polite to tell me. You hated know-it-alls. Hated, hated, hated them. You hated people who were quick to brag about things they know or did or experienced. Well, sometimes, it’s not showing off but just sharing. That’s what I did. That’s what he did. (You know exactly who I’m talking about. I never defended him because it was nothing but an inside joke, even if I thought he’s one of the good guys. He’s one of us.)
Why did we never discuss those little things that slowly killed our friendship? We can be a bunch of drama queens, but we never sat down and talked about the issues in our own relationship. Maybe we thought it’s not a big problem because we never fought. We respected each other. And we knew that sometimes, inevitably, friends grow apart.
I tried to find my way back, only to see that I’ve changed and you’re still the same.
Remember that last night of Anthology? I really wanted to go with you for the last time before it closed. We loved that bar. It was the best place to drink in Malate, and now it’s gone. And now you are, too.
You know what hurts the most, Paolo? We didn’t get back the friendship that we lost. I was still hopeful. We were good guys. I learned to manage my drama, and you became more reclusive, more distant. The pain and anger consumed you, and I hate that I wasn’t there to pull you up. I was waiting for fate—or the cosmos or God or whatever can magically bridge the gap between us—to bring back the friendship we once had. You never asked for help, and I didn’t want to intrude. It was your life, after all. And somehow, I knew this is how you wanted it to end. There were signs, but I never imagined you’ll do it, never entertained the idea. There’s only so much we can do. The rest is your fight. But you didn’t have to fight alone.
I’m so sorry. You hate it when I talk like this. You hated it when you’re alive and I’m sure you’ll hate it now. But that’s how I am, P. I’ve been fighting all my life and I will probably fight until I die. It’s unfair to say you only wanted romantic love—I don’t know that for sure—but the heartbreaks… When I remember your stories of heartbreaks, something tells me you’re already dead inside. You’re just living the days and going through the motions. I don’t blame you; that’s the last thing I want to do. This is what you want. I am just sorry I didn’t reach out soon enough, and I am sorry I wanted to keep you as a distant friend than be hated for meddling with your personal life.
I’ll never know if you’re sorry, but I forgive you. Taking your own life is a selfish act toward the people who love you. But maybe the pain was too fucking much. Maybe you felt this world isn’t worth the trouble. Dude, I know that feeling. I can never put myself in your place, but I know that feeling. So if this is what you really wanted, if this is the kind of freedom that you’re looking for, then go and be free.
Thank you for coming into my life. Thank you for letting me know you. Thank you for making those memories with me. For the short time you were alive, even for a few moments, I hope you felt love and happiness. It was there. Maybe it didn’t look like it, but it was there.
I’ll miss you, Paolo.