So many goodbyes

in


These few nights, sleep came uneasily. I had tossed on my bed, finding it a challenge to fall asleep. A presentation date was mixed up, resulting in the need to do up the slides only on the day of presentation itself. There was an aura of lethargy slowing down every movement. The auntie wandering along the street, the scattered beads of saga seeds, the damp patches of fallen pink blossoms, they all seemed a little tragic.

Other than the impending waves of academic deadlines, I have been obsessing with what one friend said and another acquaintance did. The former called me 'shallow' while the latter committed suicide.

It suffices to say that my friend and I have drifted so far apart that our ideological differences cannot be reconciled. It is the first time we had such a disagreement, and probably the last time too. I was mourning over the death of a relationship that I had so treasured.

Then, last night, there was a storm of comments on an acquaintance's Facebook page.

"I just wished you happy birthday and today..."
"What happened? Did we not promise to cafe-hop after Sunday service?"
"The dog misses you too."
"RIP, see you in heaven next time. Till then, take care."

This guy, we came from the same battalion. He was a sergeant whom I rarely spoke to. I barely remembered how he looked, barely remembered his name.

And just this month, just a few days ago, he committed suicide a day after his 27th birthday.

His mum responded to the virtual concerns that others have shown: "I miss him so much too."

This acquaintance's death reminded me of another friend, who had chosen to move on in the same manner, who had left behind a tangle of mysteries. What had been so terrible, so overwhelming that they must go? What about their mothers, their grieving mums who had brought them up? And their dads? What about those friends expressing concern only when they aren't needed anymore?

In a biology class, one lecturer said that our chances of dying increase with every day we survive. This is a fundamental rule of existence, that statistics favor a higher probability of passing away with each passing day. The older one is, the more probable one would die. The mathematical certainty is cold and terrible.

There is no way to think oneself out of these confusions, out of the existential angst, of the essential meaningless of living and having been lived.

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