*Disclaimer: This is a reflective post with partial fiction fragments.
It was unusually quiet, the morning when you called. We haven't spoke for a while; a little too long than a while. I just finished my first cup of morning coffee and half-cleaning my camera lens. It was my another working day, the kind of day to be grateful for running out of time and being completely ignorant to other workers. I was anxious. To go back to work and to receive the call. I've thinking whether you knew I was anxious, but I forgot when was the last time I don't.
"Going to work soon?" As always, you asked questions when you already knew the answers.
"No choice," I respond.
"I won't be long. Just letting you know that I've felt much better now."
I knew, because that's the only reason you'd ever called. I tried to sound positive, and asked: "That's wonderful. Want to join me shooting any day soon?" You'd say you can't, but I still need to ask.
"Would love to. Maybe next week. I've got things to catch up first." You stopped for a second, likely thinking whether you've let me down. "But I'll be around."
"Sure." Sure you don't.
I know the pattern. You'll be anywhere but around. You'd call like an old friend, but hung up as a mere formal colleague with many promises you won't remember. It's been two years since you got caught in someone else's labyrinth and making a home out of it. A troubled home, but you find it familiar. Maybe because you grew up seeing your parents throw things at each others. Maybe because your friend will leave you once they learned about your extreme temper. Maybe because you seek refuge in love, while love fails anyone; if not every once in a while. No matter where you go, the needs of familiarity follow... and just like a lone wolf without a pack; you'd imprint yourself to the sorrow. For the constant pain makes you less lonely, even though not less hurt.
A month has passed and I never heard of you. Days are still packed and busy; road are still cold and dirty; the city moved slowly in full anxiety. It sounds a lot like you and me. Eleven years ago and we were in victory. You saved me from one monstrous blizzard, and I decided to help you make art. You used to soar, brilliant and brightly; but then we started to fall and face down the ground faster than ever. There passed the divorce memory, the numerous cheating, the expected lies. I seemed to know how to adjust, but you let go of my hand and choose to dig behind. I remember you joke about building an armor made out of stars, to protect your heart for hundred years afar; to the next life and after; and after more. I remember your radiant smile when I told you I'd join the war. One lover to another, we stayed together. A friend like no other.
Until that one day, you decided to jump into the river and drifted away. It's not that I can't swim, but because you can't. And that day you choose to dive the unknown ocean. Depression, they said. It hung above you like a swollen dark cloud, burdened with long-kept thunders and silenced strikes. I knew that somehow, from that point on, you'll never be the same again. And I just can't call you the friend I used to have, because you walked pass me as if we were strangers. You walk slow, and hardly stop, into the dark. Things between us now are just a slow repetition of not-talking, withdrawing, and awkward phone-calling.
I've moved to a new office in the day when my mom called. Half of my heart knew something bad just happened. And I was right. She told me about you, about your ship that finally stop sailing; about the anchor you finally let go and let sunken. You took the end of road, saying goodbye to your life.
"You've prepared?" Mom asked, her voice trembled. I sighed. Your departure was unexpected, but oddly perceivable. "I might expect she'd say goodbye somehow," I admitted my missed expectation to Mom, but I soon understand why you choose to go in silent. And my mom knew why, too. Goodbyes are hard, and even harder when you know for sure that there won't be another possible Hello.
"Take some time to calm yourself, and, uh;" Mom inhale before she continued, "...let me know if you want to go to the funeral with me." I nodded, which she obviously didn't see, but she hung up anyway. I should've cried, but I don't. After months of losing hold of you, I knew this is what you always wanted. To be completely disconnected from any means of feeling you couldn't bear on your own, and refused to share with me on the phone. The thing about disconnection is, it comforts us in a million distant possibilities. What's not to decide, not to care, not to be guilty of. And as biased as it can be, being disconnected keeps you believe that you're in control of yourself - while being completely not. What happened to you was, probably, somewhere between the distance, you realized about the false illusion you kept telling yourself... that it's alright to disconnect. Because it wasn't. It's lonely, and it's saddening even worse. So there it goes: when one time your believed logic didn't work anymore, when you feel the pain was completely unbearable, you pressed the panic button. The shotgun. The pills. The jumping. An end.
I imagine some different ways to give you a proper reason - of why you drag yourself to the loneliness and avoiding any helps, or about the many times I tried to connect and you just reject; but by the end, I only left with the feeling you gave me since the day you drowned.
The stars appeared vague at dawn, but soon it's midnight in town. Our broken bridge has now vanished within the emotional meltdown.
(Jakarta, June 2016. | Godspeed, dear friend.)
photography vivi swarnam | outfit @damenease