On the Sidewalk

You were 17, a month away from your eighteenth birthday. My friend, you had such refulgent future— until he killed you.

The midnight between the 1st day of July and last of June was a piercing hour. The night was numbing, I swear I told you to take extra precaution on your way out, but what came after was not in your control. The moment I swiped your chat head, I felt a sudden pulsation; my heart was thudding like something was flawed. The moment I decided to shrug the idea off was also the point in time when I did not know that I was bound to lose a friend.

Bleak and forlorn was the night you were last seen by many.

You decided to go out with friends, as you have told me. You were heedful and cautious on your way, hinged with laughter and the longing for a cold night’s breeze. My friend, you were always careful; but the people around you were not. Your last chat was, “Sige boss, makikita mo naman ako niyan,” I wish irony could have played its part on some other episodes of our lives.

You were walking on the sidewalk— how come the truck found its way to that sidewalk?

Hastily, the truck driver steered the vehicle directly at you. He ran over you unhesitatingly; his foot stepped on the gas like a mad man.

Blood all over— those were your blood everywhere. It was such an agonizing thing to hear how you’ve turned out after. The worst part is that you were breathing. At that bloody state, you were still alive, fighting because you wanted to taste your mother’s cooking, tease your father, or see your siblings grow. I could not help but imagine how much pain and anguish you have tolerated. You were indeed a valiant soul.

Blameworthy and debauched, he is.

You were declared dead on your arrival to the immediate hospital. The grievances on the faces of your relatives upon seeing your bloody cadaver were indescribable; bemoaning was never enough. Retrieving what was left of you; counting a disintegrated phone with which you have exhausted most of your time with was what is most heart-breaking. Your father bought you a DSLR camera because he wanted you to hone your skills in photojournalism, never knowing that you were never going to be able to use it again; he could not look at your casket without breaking down. Your mother always wished the best for you; often saying how much she loves and misses you after your departure. Your friends wept at your wake, burial, eighteenth birthday, and until now at times when they miss you.

Everyone knew it was not your time— it was definitely not your time.

Why do innocent people have to suffer at the hands of irresponsible men? How many unsullied souls should have to be wasted because of reckless actions? If you knew you were going to drink, why would you drive?

We should be scared of lives that are taken away because of heedless driving; of the actuality that a stranger can take away your life at any moment. We face the outside world every day because of numerous reasons. It is this traumatizing story of my demised friend which makes me shudder for my life every time I have to cross the road or even walk on the sidewalk. I fear not only for my life but for the lives of many others. How many lives should be carried off for impetuous drivers to get wind of the fact that masses of lives depend on how responsible they are?

I am forever frantic to walk on the streets; I can’t even cross the roads alone. My friend was already on the sidewalk, and yet, she was still killed.