Sunday, May 26, 2013


*credits goes to sehren of PD*
Tom and I were good friends from the time we were both eight y/o. We
lived in the same compound, their house is not far from ours. He was
with his mother and his younger sister, Theresa. I have learned that
his father died when he was only six but I haven't known the reason of
his death. We studied in the same school since elementary up to
secondary. We were both studying in the same university as we entered
college. I take up engineering while he chooses Astronomy for he
wanted to reach the stars as he often said.

Thomas Malter is a joyous person who keeps smiling even in tough
times. It seems that he can handle everything with his smile. He's
tall, merely five feet and nine inches, however, I'm taller than him.
He wears eyeglasses often, a living proof that speaks about my
bestfriend being a book-aholic.

Tom and I planned to spend our summer vacation in our province. We
invited some closest pals we had during our high school days --
Sherwin, Moises, Jethro, and Rod. Since all of us were boys, we made
it more exciting by adding a night camp. When it was all set more wild
things had happened. While on the camp, I guess it was past 10 o'clock
in the evening when me and my best bud arrived unnoticed by our
friends. They sat together forming a circle around the bonfire when we
heard them discussed ruthlessly about Tom. They said that Tom might be
addicted to drugs for he had lost his weight. Tom indeed lost his
weight, which I haven't noticed since we spent our years together. But
accusing Tom a drug user made me feel frustrated. I want to answer
those stupid words they've said, but before I could open my mouth, Tom
made the first response, he smiled and just said, "Yeah.. I ate as
much as I can.. but I guess, constant lack of sleep might be the
reason why I lost my weight.. Don't worry buddy, I don't have vices."
Everybody was surprised to see us. When all looked satisfied with his
response I said a little joke, "Nothing to bother.. Tom won't used
drugs... without me." Everybody laughed, even Tom. We talked a lot of
things starting from school activities, family matters and of course
girls businesses. While on the climax of our trip, Tom suddenly got up
on his feet with a bottle of beer on his left hand, looked above and
whispered, "Venus is so ordinary. It's beautiful indeed. There are
other constellations around it but not frequently perceived. When I
was a kid, my mama told me that wishes do come true, when you asked
them in the biggest and brightest star you've seen from the sky. I
often thought that it was Venus she's talking about. See? I'm 19 and
yet I still believe in wishes. I think I'm already full, so I should
say goodnight buddies." He smiled as he said those words. From that
very moment I got curious the way Tom acted.

Soon, after summer vacation, I noticed that Tom gets thinner and
thinner every week that passed. He often missed his classes, which
actually didn't happen before. I would like to confront him about his
condition but another problem occured when my girlfriend and I got a
misunderstanding. After two weeks of not seeing him, I decided to
visit him and ask how he was. Theresa, his younger sister opened the
door and asked me to come inside and wait for his brother. I was
surprised when he came out with his usual smile but it's pale face
that bothered me. I asked him what happened to him because he looks
very ill, he just said, "I got sick and my doctor told me to take some
rest. Zach, don't worry I'd be in school by next week." Though I'm not
satisfied with his answer I still tried to have a normal conversation
with him. I told him a lot of stories about the happenings in our
school, and even told him about the unsolved misunderstanding, my girl
and I had. He gave me some advice on how to make things alright. When
we're done I bid goodbye to him and he said, "Goodnight, Zach. It's a
fine evening." I replied sarcastically, "Yeah.. saying 'goodnight'
makes the evening fine." I didn't mean to upset him but I did. He
calmly said, "Each time I go to my bed to sleep I never forget to say
'goodnight' to everyone inside this house. I believed that we will be
having a better day if we had a good night." It was annoying to hear
that or maybe I'm just guilty about ti so I just smiled and left him.

On my way home, I really wanted to talk to my girl but I know I had
nothing to say, so I just send her a text message saying 'goodnight',
hoping that Tom was right-- that tomorrow would be a better day when
we had a good night. The following day I received a phone call from my
girlfriend. I do admit that I missed her and I'm glad that everything
about us is finally okay. Tom was right, and i'd love to share this
with him, but I realized that he needs some rest, and maybe I should
tell him the whole story some other time when he's already fine. I
remember Tom's girl, Selena. She was undoubtedly pretty and one of a
kind, very rare. It was almost tyo years when they broke up, and Tom
never courted another woman again. I haven't known the real reason of
their break up except that it was Tom who split up with her. When I
asked him what she did that made him realized to end their
relationship, he just humbly said, "I am not worthy of having a
beautiful lady like her. She deserves to be happy with someone else."

Monday morning, three days after we had solved the quarrel, I expect
that Tom was already in school so I went straight to the next building
after my last subject. I found Tom taking his way home. I greeted him
with a joke, "How's your vacation, buddy?" He just smiled and said,
"Yeah, I'm tired having a good time with my bed." We both laughed at
his corny joke. We walked together in a street with plenty of people
around us which made him very fascinated to look around-- maybe
because of those tiring moment he had in his room. I told him that my
girl and I had cleaned up the mess. He said he was glad to hear that.
Suddenly, he fell down on his knees. I asked him if he's okay but I
heard nothing. He was definitely unconscious that time so I rushed him
in the nearest hospital. I called Tom's mother to inform her what had
happened earlier. She immediately ran to come to where Tom is lying.
Finally, after an hour of waiting the doctor came out with Tom's
mother. She was calmed and patiently came up to me. I asked her how
Tom is doing. And she told me everything I never wanted to believe.

I formally excuse myself to Mrs. Malter. I'm not aware where my feet
led me until I found myself sitting in the floor of the hospital far
from Tom's room. For the first time in my life I couldn't able to
control my emotions. Every drop of hope left me behind. Now, I
certainly know the reason about everything that bothers me since last
summer. Now I know why Tom weirdly acted that way and whispered those
words. Now I know what his plain smile when he said goodnight last
week means. Why his frail body gets even weaker each and every passing
day. And yes, the reason why he broke up with Selena. Now I know

For two years, he had suffered the unbearable pain. He and his family
were aware that he's going to die supposedly last summer but miracle
arrived when God gave him another almost two months to live with
us.Each night he spent his time in bed praying that somehow the pain
could be reduced even for a minute.

The next day when I woke up I couldn't accept the fact that I wasn't
dreaming. I visited him in the hospital and told him I knew
everything. I asked him why he hadn't even informed me regardless to
his condition. He just smiled and said, "There's nothing you can do,
Zach. My father died the same sickness I have. This bone cancer really
hurt me. I just want to live normal as anyone did. I thought I'm going
to die without your knowledge, however, looks like God didn't allow
that to happen. See? I supposed to die last summer but I'm here in the
hospital room talking to you." I don't know how he handled to smile in
such pain. Maybe he doesn't want to look pathetic. In a moment of
silence I had to let go of the words I never thought would came out of
my mouth. "Why? Why of all people, Tom?" I never expected him to
answer my question but he made a response. "I also asked God why of
all people it's me He chose to gain this sickness? But I'm afraid I
couldn't hear any answer from Him. Will you give me a favor, Zach?" I
nodded once and asked him what it is, he said, "I know you're going to
be busy this week, you will be taking midterm exams right? So maybe
its time for you to focus on your studies first instead of visiting me
here in the hospital, but please do come up here by Saturday night
after you've done with your tests." I agreed and promised him to be
there that day. Silence and Tom's smile occupied the entire room. And
before I left Tom in the hospital I gave him a rosary and told him not
to lose his faith in God.

It was a busy week, I gathered notes from my classmates and reviewed
all my lessons. But I'm much worried about Tom. And when Saturday
came, when I'm done with my exams, and confident that I could pass
them all, I hurriedly rushed to the hospital for I couldn't wait to
let Tom know about it. I know he's waiting to hear my stories. It was
past eight in the evening when I arrived, and I never thought that it
would be the last time I'd see my bestfriend alive. I found his Mom
outside the room where her son was lying. Though she tried to speak
calmly, those tears of grief in her eyes failed to hide the pain she
was feeling inside. "Tom is waiting for you, talk to him and tell him
it's alright."

I was still hoping that I was thinking wrong, but when I opened the
door, the priest beside him-- even without saying a single word--
showed me everything. I slowly walked into the room never wanting to
believe everything in front of me. Tom breathed very slowly, I know
he's awake but was unable to move his body and couldn't give a word.
Now I know it's true, and time had come for me to free him from all
the pain and accept everything. I knelt beside Tom while saying, "It's
alright Tom. It's alright. I know you're tired and you want to rest
now, you may rest now Tom. Thank you for waiting. Thank you for being
a good friend. Thank you." As I said those words, Tom stopped
breathing. I didn't know if it's the right thing to say. I couldn't do
anything until I found myself crying as I walked outside the room.

As the funeral ended, all I wanted is to lie in my bed and sleep. I'm
all alone in my room. The moon shines brightly as ever. I looked for
Venus and realized that Tom was right, it was beautiful indeed. Though
many constellations form in the sky, Venus stands among them. Tom, my
best friend, I know he's happy now. Finally, all the pain is gone.

"Goodnight, Tom. Sleep well."

-The End-

Source: School Journal


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