It’s been a year and I am again sitting on this bench beside the pond watching the sky as it turns to grey. I can see passersby who are happily strolling to the ends of the horizon. Their blissfulness light up their faces and it makes me question myself, “How can they still smile despite of all the misfortunes life threw at them?”
Then I remember the first day I met him right at this very spot. It was a cloudy day, the place was peaceful and there were only a few people gazing at the magnificent scenery. I was in so much tears and just so my luck, everyone was too busy with their lives that they didn’t even notice my existence. Suddenly, the rain started to pour and it somehow lessened the burden of my sorrow. That sudden warmth feeling amidst the coolness of the weather went running all over me as I found something accompanied me during this very low moment. But then I noticed the raindrops stopped touching my skin. I looked up and saw a man holding an umbrella over me. He sat beside me and offered me his hanky. He was very gentle and told me the cheesiest line I’d ever heard my whole life and it stopped me from all these sobbing drama I was having.
“A lady as lovely as you are should preserve those tears to something precious – like try to loosen up a bit and feel exhilarated as this guy’s just about to comfort an angel.” He said while pointing to himself.
I laughed and that was how I met my best friend.
Zach was a mysterious and funny guy. He loved driving on a wet road, he loved the idea of rain and he was a follower of JC. He got a lot of things in mind but was too private about it. His solitude drawn me into knowing him more and welcoming him into my life. He was the only person that I was positive I could count on to. He never left me when things got rough. He’d even come to our school just to offer me some of his company because for some friendship-betrayal issues, I chose to keep myself accompanied by no one but my own. I stopped making friends in class anymore. Zach knew that very well and being the best dude friend that he was, he allotted most of his time with me – even if that would mean he got so little left to himself being alone and doing things that he loved – cooking. He wouldn’t come to our school empty-handed; as a matter of fact, he’d always bring a lunch box and feed me. He loved to cook so much that he even dreamt of pursuing a career one day that involved nothing else but cooking, cooking and cooking.
Until one afternoon, he was a bit hesitant to tell me something. Being persistent as I always was, I annoyingly asked him what was bothering him and so, he couldn’t help but spill whatever he was thinking right away.
“Okay, okay here it goes. I just received a letter from a culinary school where I had interned when I went abroad…. and they were offering me a scholarship.”
I got speechless for a moment. It took me a while to react because it wasn’t what I’d been expecting to hear and to even make matters worse, it was totally not something I wanted to hear either. He was leaving and I didn’t want him to. He was my only friend. I couldn’t lose him. He was in a state of dilemma after seeing my reaction. It felt terrible making him see the disappointment that covered all my face, so I assured him that I was going to be okay, even though I knew I would never be. I told him to accept it and that he got my full support so he grabbed the opportunity right away. I supported him even though it was against my will.
The day that he had been waiting and I’d not been praying for had unfortunately come. I was all bitter on our way to the airport but I didn’t let him see the bitterness that were painted all over my face, though I knew he could sense it. He kept telling me to lessen my klutziness and should start making friends as he was going far away. I rolled my eyes and without even noticing, I hugged him so tight hoping it would stop him from leaving. I wished him a safe journey and right after he went through those doors, I cried.
We didn’t lose contact with each other. Though at first, it was so hard adjusting to our new environment wherein we both have different time zones and that all means of communication was just virtual. Nevertheless, he’d still find time to talk to me about everything, even the tiniest detail that I didn’t even need to know.
Three years had gone by and, he’s finally coming back right after the last day of school. I got so excited that I even made him a surprise welcome party. The day of his arrival came. I was about to go to the airport to fetch him when my sister called me out and told me to come over because an argument broke out and a fight with her husband ensued. I’d thought that my sister needed me more right now, so I called Zach’s so-not-techie brother, Bob. I asked him to fetch Zach instead because I couldn’t make it.
While my sister and I were talking, I seemed restless like something felt terribly wrong so I checked my phone and found three missed calls and a text message from Bob. It was really strange getting a call from him so I read the text message right away:
“Sandy, Zach’s gone… His plane crashed. They’re still finding the location to where it had gone. I don’t know what to do.”
And there was a moment of silence.
I dropped my phone.
I didn’t know what to do either.
I couldn’t process every word.
I kept thinking it might be just a prank.
That maybe Bob was just fooling me. But he couldn’t make a fool out of this.
It felt like my whole world had been shattered and torn apart.
My memories of him started flashing back. Our memories together.. Plans we’d made..
I couldn’t believe it.
My Zach was dead.
My sister asked me what happened but I couldn’t utter a word. I was tearing up, lost my balance and even my sanity’s gone as well.
A few minutes later, I gained my consciousness back. I tried my best to compose myself, but I couldn’t help my tears from falling. My heart was wrenched. I was in deep shock and sorrow for the loss of the man I’d ever loved. He was my best friend and I’d been in love with him ever since the first day we met. He did not know that yet. He was the one who made me feel that life was worth living when I was about to give up for being unable to find purpose. Cliché as it sounded but he really was my knight in shining armor – both in dreams and in reality. He was the only one who made me believe that fairytales could come true, that happy endings could’ve existed. And these vanished all because of one’s imprudence and recklessness.
Just thinking about it, it’s kind of funny how timing’s such a bitch and how life can get even more fucked up with each passing day.
Today is his first death anniversary and as I remember all the moments we shared together, I can’t help myself, but to smile and giggle for every sweet memory I had with him. My vivid memories of him still linger on and I will treasure them forever even after the rainbow loses all its power to give the world color and hope right after the rain washes the sorrows of all.
Zach was my rainbow. He will forever be that rainbow who appeared before me just as when everything was not falling right into place.
I see myself facing to the direction of a voice coming from a guy who’s just sitting on the bench next to mine.
“Pardon?” I said.
“Are you okay? You’ve been laughing there for hours. Do you want someone to share that with?” he said.
I nod and he stands, walks up to me and smiles.
I guess it’s time to see the bright side of life and move on. I’ve realized it’s the best way to paint back the smiles that were once lost.