Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Too Late

Too late.

This is a true story. When I was a senior in a high school I have this junior, who was in the same organization with me. I won’t tell you what kind of organization was that. It was meant for the losers of the school, it was very unpopular. So, you can tell what kind of person I was. Unattractive, unpopular and never a smart, but I always know some things and I always stick to my opinion or to what I believe.

This junior was very easy to look at, build to be someone who deserve more than my just lousy organization. And every time he talks to you, you can see his kindness shimmering alongside his genuineness. It is weird that he chose to talk to me at all. I mean behind that tall build, was he vulnerable? I only realized this later. Back then I saw nothing in him. I never considered him as a friend. I think he is just my junior, that's all.

On some point he will wait for me after school just so we both can walk to the bus station together and he can talk with me. He mostly talked about condition in our school and people in general. We were young, we learned about the world and society through people we saw.  But we never talked about our personal life. I think I don’t want to know. He asked the organization so he could be partnered with me, it is like brotherhood, or mentorship. But that’s not how it works. I was paired with someone else.

It was the second semester when I realized he started to ditch the classes and failed his exams.  It was weird, as far as I know he was pretty responsible. He cares about his education and he is a learner. Was he sick? I couldn’t care less, I was busy with my organization and my personal life, this including my nerdy friends, and my life too, which was also hard because I lived in a foster home.

The organization asked me to find out what had happened to him. When I thought I really had time between my classes, I decided to visit his class and asked around. Nobody knew where he exactly was. Or what he was doing. They just said that he has problem with his life, with his family. But that’s all information that I can get.

I thought I had played my part, so I came back to my life and just busy-busy with myself. It was until a month after that he stopped coming to the school.

I remember he invited me to his house one time. He introduced me to his home. To his chairs in the living room, to shabby upholsteries, to his cold tea in plastic jar, and to his life with color of grey and black. He shown me his thin ugly book in which he wrote all the movies he has watched and his thought about them. “I want to be a movie maker,” he told me sincerely. I still remember his smile. I like movies too. He knew. But we both knew that kind of dream is not available for us. Maybe it was comforting him, to be able to communicate to someone who shared the same incapability but secretly having a huge amount of hope and miracles. Nevertheless, I was more realistic than him back then. I just smiled and consider his deed as a friendly gesture, nothing much. They don’t really mean anything for me. Of course,  (again) I’m busy with my so-called-problems, besides my youth was filled with rage and anger about injustice in life. I just couldn’t care for another 16-year-old boy beside myself.

His disappearance started to concern the organization. “We need more people… why don’t you try to find him? He was close to you.” I frowned to the order but decided to come to his class again and started to put more effort this time. The answers were all vague. Some said this, some said that.  “Oh, he hasn’t paid the school tuition…” “Oh, he was working in the wet market.” “He turned to be a really bad guy now… we couldn’t believe that either.” All rumors. So, I told these things to the organization. I said I don’t know.

I never saw him again since that day. I moved on with my life as if nothing had happened. Youth has passed. I remember I have made a huge mistake. Until three years later. I accidentally encountered him at the train station. He was standing, leaning to the wall, smoking. A tall-tired-faceted-neatly-combed hair-young guy. He was wearing a cardigan, half hiding his uniform that he was working in the supermarket with lousy pants and worn out shoes. My heart pounded so hard, I was glad, I was relieved.

I hesitantly said hi, and in two seconds he recognized me. The first thing I realized was the eyes. We groggily play the catch-up thing while not looking at each other. He said he was going to watch movie with his girlfriend. I told him I decided to go college but on my way working as an office helper. I haven’t smoked back then, so he was busy smoking by himself. “Let’s watch movie together sometimes…” I offered. He gave me a little nod. When his train arrived, he gave me one last glance that told me everything that I had already known.

The look that I still remember until today. The look said, “it’s too late”. I saw the pain in his eyes that burned with anger and disappointment. How he used to look up to me, now he looking down. I was blinded, but now I can read more into him. That he needed my help. He needed my friendship. He needed somebody to understand. Somebody to share the feeling. Someone whom he could be honest with. I think he knew I couldn’t be much help with his problems. But my support, it sure will comfort him. I think he must be really lonely back then. That nobody got him. Nobody for him. He chose me. I wasn’t there for him. 

 If I have to regret something in my life, is that I regret the days when I was really self-absorbed. My ego wanted to defend myself, I was busy but busy of what? No people is too busy. How can I be so busy I don’t see that people is suffering? That somebody needed me. That I meant something for somebody. I know that people are responsible for their own lives. But I could  have always saved him, I realized. I was just too lazy and ignorant. I could have saved him. I really could.

I was lucky he was strong. I was lucky that the despair, he turned into hatred, into anger, into rebellion. That he decided to move on with his life. To hate the world, to hate me, to survive.

Some people, they don’t have that courage, some people are too tired. Some people, if put in his shoes, they decided to leave their life behind. To say good bye to the self, but not to the people. They don’t have people, because they are always lonely. These some people, who are just like me.

Dear junior, I’m sorry, it's been 17 years, I know it’s too late. I feel what you felt.


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