I never thought that days like this would also come into my life. I thought we’d still have another chance to see each other again. You’d asked me about my second novel for so many times and why I hadn’t produced anything real as promised.
Instead, I’m writing this obituary.
Time flies, my dearest friend. Half a decade ago and so felt so fast. It was as if only yesterday we met at that writing camp. You and Andhika had turned up together, a dynamic duo without a doubt.
It wasn’t your smile that had stolen my attention that weekend. It wasn’t even your brilliant eyes, sparkling behind your spectacles. You had that glow which had attracted the whole world around you. You didn’t even have to make an effort.
You just had to be…you.
It was that very first moment when we just…clicked. It was when you first talked about that ancient Javanese book, Jayabaya, with the others on the bus. I was sitting at the backrow behind yours. I couldn’t resist jumping in:
“I heard it was mystical too. Not everybody can get their hands on the book. The book chooses the people, not the other way around.”
You stopped and turned around. Your eyes sparkled brilliantly and your smile widened.
“That’s right!” You beamed. “How do you know that?”
That was the beginning of our close but carefree friendship later on. We didn’t talk much during the writing camp, but we spoke more after that.
We barely had our pictures together. We didn’t even hang out that often. I agreed when you said it didn’t matter. What we had was way beyond that. Our friendship had always been far from mundane, from anything too trivial.
From social media to messenger apps, we still talked. We encouraged each other. You still yelled at me for my lack of confidence. (Didn’t you know? Not everybody could do that to me and get away with it. I let you. I always did, because I knew that was just how much we cared about each other.)
“I love Andhika like he’s my own brother,” you once told me. There was fire in your eyes. “I hate it when people look down on him when he’s actually a great, great writer. It’s the same thing with you.”
I was holding my tears back, but I bet you could see it. You just chose not to bring that up.
“It’s time that you stopped letting them kill your glow,” you went on seriously. “Don’t even let them try again. You deserve better. You’re also a potential, great writer. You can do more. You’re a whole lot more than how much you believe in yourself right now.”
When I finally got my first novel published, although locally, you were overjoyed.
“See?” you exclaimed happily. “You could do that. I knew it. Now you can do more. I’m waiting for your next writing stuff.”
I’m sorry. A lot of things happened and two years went by. I got too busy. I knew you were disappointed. You didn’t even have to tell me.
Trying to catch up with you again had been on my mind lately. However, there were always those lame excuses. Work to do. Was it even considered ‘first things first’? Family. Other friends to hang out with. Clubs and communities.
Somewhere along the way, I remember hearing your voice again:
“Fly as high as the sky, Rew, but never forget the ground.”
A week ago, I returned home from work. I received the biggest shock when I found so many condolences on your Facebook timeline. What?!
Can I still call myself your friend? I still feel guilty. I didn’t know you’d been sick. You never told me. You’d always been so tough. I thought you were alright.
Just like me, you hated revealing your weaknesses. You, who’d always scolded me for working too hard and getting sick from that.
Then again, I knew. I’ve always known. You just wanted to be remembered from how you’ve made all of us smile, how you’ve inspired us.
Very well, Nik. You know there are many things I’ll always remember about you. You, of all the very few people who have really seen me for me, once also said this:
“Someday, you’ll meet, fall in love, and be with that one particular person who’ll always love you for being you. He may not be what you need, because you’ve never really needed anyone to complete you. You’re already whole yourself. You’re much more beautiful than those shallow minds out there can see you. This one’s different, though. You’ll see that he’s worth it.”
Were you trying to tell me something, Nik? Did you see something I hadn’t yet?
“Rew, I never believe in coincidence. When we first met, I believed the universe had a plan for us. And it was true. It’s the same thing with every soul we come across on this earth.”
I had a talk with Andhika after the news of your passing, Nik. You were right, he felt the same way about you too. He didn’t just lose a best friend; he’d lost a brother too. We both remember how you’ve always dealt with pain – whether grief or illnesses.
“Give yourself time to heal. Grieve, but dwell not on it – not even too long. Life never waits on any of us.”
My dearest friend Nik, we’re now grieving out of our love for you, like how you’ve loved each of us unconditionally.
However, you’re also right. Sooner or later, we must find a way to move on, in order to honour your memory too. We’ll always love you and be missing you. Your name’s forever carved in our hearts.
Have a peaceful, eternal sleep, sweet and beautiful soul.
(In the memory of NIKOTOPIA: a best friend, a spiritual brother, a fellow writer, a motivator, and an inspiration)