In Pen and Pain

The rain that made the night colder has already stopped, but his tears still did not.

From the dark and lonely seaside where he shed tears, he went back to where they were drinking, surrounded by other lost souls who, like them, try to drown away from reality. “You still have anything to say?” Trying his best to conceal heavy heart, he responded by shaking his head followed by an effortful smile. It hints the end of that night’s hobnob. But just before they parted ways, he was betrayed by his tear ducts as their embrace made him unable to hold back. He is weeping for the first time in front of them.

It was past midnight. What started with a blissful singing of a Happy Birthday song didn’t end up happy after all, at least for him.

Riding his equally sad 2-wheeler, he drove home as fast as his tears running down his face. His mind is full and empty. A long honk and a bright headlight on his face struck him. The man was yelling about how he was going against the flow that nearly killed him, he can barely hear it. “Sorry”, he whispered and clenched the accelerator.

He went straight to his restroom that is more tranquil than his mind. He is being attacked by a perennial stomachache since they were singing along earlier that evening. Nobody noticed it, thanks to his mastery of bearing such pain after years of practice. There is something more painful that he felt that night, just a little above that aching stomach. He opened the faucet so he won’t be heard sobbing by his family on the other side.

The night before that, they were in his room celebrating friendship with a bottle of alcohol. It was his much awaited moment as he was excited to welcome his closest friends to his new space. It was initially fun playing a getting-to-know-you (more) game that would reveal their deepest tale to tell. True to its form, some darkest stories were revealed and never-before heard stories have surfaced.

What seemed to be a regular conversation have gone deepest. It was the first time he heard the matter that it passed through his core and into his soul ripping it apart. It hurts hellish that he was already reluctant to speak up. Heads down, he just listened to the earnest disclosure of someone he considered important. “How come I didn’t know about that?”, he asked himself with so much remorse. He has never felt such kind of guilt for the last 28 years.

He had to carry on the following day, especially that it’s the day of their treasured colleague. He had to convince himself that he is okay, so he acted as one. But he was not able to sustain it when after the birthday surprise, the celebrant had the chance to mention her disappointments on him. It was like a repeat of what transpired in his room last night. What a sequent plot like that of the saddest movie he’s never seen.

His other longtime confidant attempted to divert the discussion to how they were able to overcome every trials that challenged their group’s friendship, but fate insists of bringing the spotlight into him. So he stood up and went to the nearby dark and lonely seaside to allow himself to whimper.

It feels like a night of never-ending unbearable emotion as he recalls all of those tragic while in the restroom. Until a familiar sound of a vehicle arriving required him to fix himself, go out, and greet them.

“Why are you here?”

“We can’t let the night end like this”, one said before raising the liquor. They went in.

They positioned for what is supposed to be a continuation of the intoxication. Because they “don’t want him alone”, they said.

Someone started to solemnly express sympathy while sipping the same liquor that hit them hard the other night. “I have something to say”, he interrupted. They all paid attention. The room was filled with unexplainable sorrow as he paused for a while, wiped his eyes, took a deep breath, and gathered his remaining courage to finally speak up again.

“Even for the last time, I hope you trust me on this”, a shaking voice was heard… “It’s too painful to be with you tonight… I think I should be alone.”

Grief and tears, he hugged the pillow tight, they hugged him goodbye.

He thought he would feel better, he’s wrong. Heartbreak filled the room where it all started.

It all started in his room and ended up in his room. It started with him being with his closest friends and ended up with him being with his tears dripping into paper and pen. It started with him listening to their story of pain he caused them and ended up with him writing a story of so much pain he caused himself. It started full of brightness from 4 bright pin lights of his room and ended up with total darkness and emptiness of exactly the same room.

Nothing hurts more than seeing his inspirations walk away from him because he asked them to. The very people he wanted to stay all along in this time when he is literally crying for help and relief. The people he used to be with in good times and in bad. All their good memories of shared storm and sunshine flashed back like an old movie scene — everything was clear, except whether it will happen again.

How it all started is totally different to how it ended.

This is a rare time when words terribly fail this young but experienced writer. A time when he has so much to say but can’t say a single word. A time when he had to check the ink on his chest which he dedicates for them and wonder if he still wants it on his skin. It is a time when he lost faith in himself.

Some people are strong, until someone makes them realize they are not. I know, for I am one of them.

Some stories are written in pen, while others are written in pain. This story is written in both.

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