The Strangest Afternoon

I actually started writing something for you, a prose that I couldn’t quite finish it. It just seems wrong. The words, the sentences, they seem stilted, forced. It feels like I’m trying too hard to make it rhymes, try as I might, it just doesn’t  seem to work so I left it unfinished. However, there’s this nagging feeling that I need to write something. So as I was doing some chores, my mind wonders to that time I called ‘the strangest afternoon’.

I had planned to visit you with a couple of other friends that day. I had it all figured out when at the last moment life got in the way, I couldn’t figure out how to do all that I want to do that day, something has to give. Our friends last reports says that you are getting better so we thought, okay, we’ll visit you the next day. So off I go to do whatever it was that needs doing.

Ticking off my task list one by one, I was on the way to my last appointment of the day, the one I’ve been looking forward for weeks; to meet with one of my really good friend from BU. Last time we saw each other was graduation. That’s eons ago! So I was super excited. Jakarta being Jakarta, traffic is slow going, light rain was pouring, and I just can’t stop thinking about you. How you seem to be doing just fine, then suddenly got sick, how all of us is praying for your speedy recovery, and yet… Up to that moment, I always pray for a speedy recovery. Yet somehow that afternoon, something is urging me to change my prayer, to wish for the best for you but I don’t really want to do that. That’s usually my last prayer for those too ill to get well and I refuse to entertain that thought. I texted some friends asking for the latest news while there’s this internal debate going on about how to pray for you. Finally I give up. I prayed and hope for the best for you. Whatever it is.

A couple minutes later, a text came in: “Sita, he’s passed away.”

What???

Furious texting to few other people and made a phone call. All I hear is sobbing. A heartfelt sob. Then another text came in formally announcing your passing.

NO!!!

I was so close to the meeting place and I really was looking forward to meet my college friend whom I have not seen since graduation. I was torn. In the end I decided to go ahead and meet him. Who knows when’s the next time he’s coming here. I cried, of course. But few minutes before arriving I told myself, right, get it together don’t cry, this is a happy occasion. And you know, the moment I step into the hotel lobby, it’s like all sadness is on pause. Only happy is allowed.

For the next few hours, it was all happy smiles, laughter, reminiscing, catching up, and even a spot of business talk. My friend is looking into a business venture here and is looking for some insider info. He should’ve paid me for my intel! Naw, it’s all good. Obviously this would just be anecdotal information but if it paved the way for him to invest here, why not? We also talked about class reunion. The Asian contingent really want to have a class reunion in Bali. The North Americans were being geriatric about it, complaining the flight would be too long, the Asians should just come to LA instead. Uh… we already made those long haul flights during college yo…

Soon it was time to go. Snapped some pictures, hope it doesn’t take another 16 years to see each other, then back in the car to go home. And the dam burst again.

Like I said, strange afternoon.

Later on, I was telling my mom about it and I don’t know if she’s being psychic (my mom’s family are somewhat very perceptive about things, some people claim it’s a supernatural ability. I think they’re just very good at reading people) or she just want to console her sad daughter but after I finished my tale, she got quiet for a moment. Then she said, “Your friend is a really good person. He knew he’s going so he’s saying goodbye to his friends, that’s why you keep thinking about him. He was saying goodbye to you…”

I choose to believe my mom.

Yudi is or was, a really good person. A family man who has a big heart  and always wear a smile. He is full of ideas, energetic, very friendly to everyone, has a ton of friends. He has a zest for life. Truly one of a kind.

I am really sorry I didn’t get to visit you again. I did go to your funeral. How strange… your funeral. Even now it seems unreal. We know you have a lots of friends and it shows during your funeral. There were so many people! Little ones, big ones, everyone wants to pay their last respect. It was raining too. Even the weather is sad to see you go.

When it is time, it is time. Goodbye Yudi, it’s been a honour and a privilege to know you. I bet you’re cracking jokes with the angels now, lucky them.

Until we meet again, my friend.

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