In Memoriam

My tears dried, leaving sticky and taut trails on my cheeks. The cup of water tasted salty, strangely salty. Condensed tears on my cracking lips, yes, they turned the clean, sparkling water. They turned it salty.

Crying seemed so foreign. It felt strange, so strange. When was the last time I cried? And what was I crying for?

We cried, my professor and I, as we emailed each other, me in England and her in Hong Kong. We cried in front of our computers, for a person whom we could no longer chat with. We cried because we felt responsible, because we could have kept in contact with him, because he could have kept in touch with us, because... we cried because there're too many 'because's.

And I cried for him. He told me that he would study for a PhD in political science and now, he couldn't get that PhD anymore. He is one of the most responsible people I know - why this uncharacteristic act?

And I cried - in abject sadness, in absolute anger - that he could have approached any of us but didn't. Why, why, why? We were a community, weren't we? We were friends. F-r-i-e-n-d-s. Why?

Life is unpredictable. Cherish your life. There're people who loved you all around. Hope that the school community would be united in this dark period. 

Blah blah blah. Such tidbits are cheap. Easy to say, disgustingly easy to say. Please don't bandy about such cheap  consolation. Please, no hypocrisy. Don't write such statements on Facebook before 'liking' trivial, silly memes. People would know. They would know that your grief, if real, is simply too transient and borders on hypocrisy.

And, fuck you, understand? Don't take this opportunity to say stuff like 'RIP Peter, I may not know u but I know sg life can be stressful n without proper support can drive ppl to their graves'. You don't know him. You aren't qualified to turn his death to your opinions about the society. And fuck you, too, people who are sharing articles about the meanings of joy and existence. And fuck the online media for turning this into a circus.

Tired, overwhelmed and confused. Grieving, being angry, then feeling broken. Why am I still attending classes? Why are all appearances so normal? Why are we referring to him as though he had been gone for long?

"He was... he did... he said..." 24 hours later, we're all referring to him in the past tense.

The grief snapped, like the frail stems of daffodils, revealing a meaningless vacuum.

We Are Just Atoms
a shape poem I wrote last year in a class with him