There is a memory of loss that fall provokes, like feeding the earth’s exhaustion, satisfaction and weariness, making us wonder.
How we deal with all the other endings in our lives or facing up to what’s been and now gone? How do we mend the wear and tear of our lives?
The last image I had of him was that distant midnight when his guiding hand led me while waiting for a ride as he stood out against the gate of Quezon City Police Station 1. His lips pursed a trifle, his pair of steady eyes gleaming with a kindly understanding light. Smiling, he waved. I would never see him alive again.
When it approaches, death announces itself by a kind of scent, some silent sounds, some impalpable imperfections. In this case, it was a car driven at an insane speed, beating the red light at the corner of E. Rodriguez and Araneta Avenue, that led to a fatal crash. The impact drove the passenger jeep to skid off obliquely, somersaulting twice before eventually landing on its top. The first person to rush to the scene was a passing cab driver. Beneath the little pile of twisted iron, ripped metal and shattered glass, he laid still alive, apparently intact, raising his eyelids as he was helped and extracted from the tangle, dragged and carried, blood pouring from a head wound, copiously soaking the pavement.
Lifted, if weakly, by the arm which was perhaps broken, a vertebra perhaps shattered, he was settled in the rear seat of the taxi for the journey to a hospital that seemed so far away. Halfway, he opened his eyes, drew a breath, a very, very long one, and then his heart burst.
I arrived 93 hours later. Outside the police station a large crowd had gathered, folks from all quarters. People whose lives he had touched wept a quiet farewell. There was the agony of having to look at him. I knew that they had opened him up to steal his heart, his lungs, his viscera then sewed him up to show an unharmed face. “Sionoc,” I called out to him, shyly and hesitantly, but stiffened in the haughty and scornful immobility of the dead. He proudly rejected every word and every gesture of affection. All that remained of him was someone asleep, with the form and the memory of what he was hours earlier.
How does one say goodbye to an ally, confidante, father confessor who listened to one’s secret hopes, shared one’s deliciously wicked schemes, one’s impossible dream? An elfin godfather who teased me into good spirits when life sucked and our only language was laughter. Sometimes, our talks had to do with “RMG,” a great man whom I adore and respect, and whom we loved together. Much of what we shared about his chief was in grief and frustration because we were both deeply concerned about an honest cop going through the salty pains of injustice.
The loss of one’s best friend helps sort out thoughts — to wake up from a sleep that befuddles intelligence and prevents judgment. It hits harder because it brings the reality that death is not just a bad dream. When your best friend dies, a part of you goes with him that no one can ever bring back, and when you lose a part of yourself, it is difficult to halt the tears.
The mourning never ends.
E-mail Mylah at email@example.com