There are questions that will remain forever unanswered
When a life finds its way out of this world
- When you died, I thought maybe I finally understood the real reason for religion. The idea that someone you love can disappear into oblivion is almost unbearable. It’s worse than the idea that you yourself could disappear into oblivion because, well, you wouldn’t be around for that. I know that doesn’t make sense.
- It’s Thursday night and tonight is the first night of your third and final wake. In life and death you were always a traveler. When I was eleven I wrote a poem about you called Intercontinental Bird. It’s embarrassing. Your family living in different places fought for you to be buried closest to them. Through a strange combination of factors, your final resting place will be ten minutes away from my house.
- It’s Thursday night and I’m home. I’m not at your wake. I’m on my bed and my cat is lying against my chest, watching me type. She lives here now, in the house, not in our apartment in Manila. She didn’t like it there. She scratched us all the time. My girlfriend still hasn’t forgiven her, because she hasn’t seen her here yet. She’s much happier and sweeter. You would like her. You liked my dog. You liked everyone. I never heard you express dislike towards a single person in my whole life.
- I’m home because you have three more wakes this week and I will attend every single one of them.
- My last ex met you. She met my dog too. You were two of the people (beings?) that I’ve loved the most in my entire life, and she got to meet you and not my girlfriend, even though I was only with her for a month and I have been with my girlfriend for a year. It’s not fair, really. Also, that was the last time that I ever saw you.
- My favorite memory of you was a summer day down at the river. All the kids were jumping off a big rock and all the adults were picnicking by the shore. But you didn’t want to be with the boring old adults. You wanted to jump off the big rock. So you did. And you belly-flopped. And your stomach got all red.
- I owe you 2000 baht from when I stayed with your family and ran out of shopping money. I’m sorry.
- When you died, my mom texted my girlfriend because she didn’t know how to tell me. But when her phone rang, my girlfriend asked me to read the text so I ended up reading it myself anyway. It was early morning and I was sitting in our bed. She was halfway out the door going somewhere. I screamed and she ran back to me. I cried for two hours then I was 100% fine after that. I even went to see a jazz band that night. I’m fine now. Does that mean I love you less?
- All I feel is that I miss you – as if we’ll see each other again.
- When I was four, when you were leaving after a visit to the country, you joked that you’d take me home with you, and I didn’t really know what a joke was, and I was so disappointed when you left me behind.
- When I was six, you took me and my brother on a weeklong beach trip and I spent the whole time in the cottage with a fever. You fed me rainbow-chip cookies and praised me when I finished them. And didn’t say anything when I threw up rainbow vomit on the white sheets.
- When I was thirteen, you brought me a solar panel as a birthday gift. That was also the year we spent Christmas with your family, which means a rare year when we had fun and didn’t fight.
- Ten years ago, you left two posters and your day ID from a conference in my room. I still have them. I loved all the traces you left behind whenever you stayed here. I was always so shy and quiet around you. But I was always so sad to see you go.
- I have a picture of me boiling in a huge metal pot and you holding a ladle over me.
- I wondered, sometimes, how you would react if I told you I was gay and / or bipolar. The first, in a loving-Christian sort of way that would irritate me if it wasn’t you – probably. The second, in a scientific yet compassionate manner – probably. I will never know now.
- How could I ever explain it? That it seemed to me as if you had never learned how to hate another person. That it seemed as if you always knew the right thing to say, the right clothes for a color theme, the right gift to buy, the right places to take your guests, all the right things to do to make the people in your life feel that they were in presence of a caring and competent man. Not to mention (usually) well-dressed.
- You wore a backpack and you eschewed roller bags. You probably did a lot of running to catch flights.
- When I was younger, I wanted to be just like you. I don’t think that’s possible anymore.