"Why should I be happy? I just lost someone dear to me," I answer.
"Well, it's not like you did anything to help him. Financially, I mean."
"I was broke. I was piss poor. I was out of the country. What was I to do?"
"Liar. You were neither of those. You had spare money and you were back in Jakarta long enough to do something," he says. That shuts me up. That shuts me up as if someone had his fingers and palms around my neck and gripped it tightly, crushing the bones, sealing the air that fought its way in.
"Yes. So you're right. There. Are you happy now?" I ask him back.
"You know that I can never be happy. Unlike you."
"Damn it. Damn it. Damn it why did he have to die?"
"He had brain tumor. It's probably for the better," he replies as slews of profanities spew forth from my mouth like vomit.
"He was your first friend at junior high. He was your very first crush. He sat there in the library during the orientation, and he was the first person who extended his palm to you as he said his name and you accepted his hand and shyly told him yours," he says.
I nodded meekly.
"During all those hours of lectures and talks, you stared at his brown, sinewy thighs, amazed by the sight, by how strong they looked, how impressive they were, even without him trying to show them off," he says. "But you fell for another one."
"It wouldn't matter. He was straight. They both were. The other one is still straight. He got married a year ago," I balk.
"Yes. The other one. The short, yellow one, whose name echoes yours, who treated you like shit when he found out you liked him. But it didn't matter to you then to sleep with 'straight' people. And this one, your first friend at junior high, he never treated you badly. He always smiled to you, flashing his pearly whites to you."
"It won't matter anymore. He liked girls and he got one before he died. It can't matter anymore to him because now he's dead. It can't matter anymore to me because I have someone who loves me," I say, screaming.
"Are you sure?"
But silence swallows me once more and it looms over me, its dark presence hangs above me as layers of gray clouds copulate with one another in the morning skies of Berkeley.
RIP Temmy Haryono (23 October 1981 - 17 November 2011)
I'm sorry for being late
For not acknowledging the
Part that I needed you to know
For not wanting to let go
This blurry vividness
Like this half-eaten
Sandwich in front of me
Serves as a sliver of memory
If one sorry could take us back
To that day, that afternoon
I'd murmur ten thousand more
Until my lips and tongue went sore
White space and your
As we run and ride and race