“DEAR NIK: Thank You”

Dear Nik,

I sometimes have no idea how to react when I dream about anyone I know who has passed away. I’ve got plenty of visits from the dead in my sleep. Pumpkin, Dad, Robbie, my younger cousin Omar…

…and now YOU.

I don’t know why I suddenly had that dream about you last weekend. It was probably because I’d returned home late that weekend after Jakarta’s Poetry Night. You’d probably have glared and scolded:

“You hang out too much! What about your second novel?!”

I know, I know. I should’ve done that a long time ago. It’s been way overdue. I’m sorry. I also know you’d never have accepted that as an excuse.

Why did I dream of you that night? Was it because someone I care about told me he’d lost a family member?

Maybe. I don’t know. All I remember was that we were both on an open field. The sun was shining down on you as you looked up to the sky, all smiling with your eyes closed. It was warm. I somehow knew that it was.

“Aww, Rew,” you said softly. “Aren’t you way too old to still be that scared?”

“What?” I turned to you in surprise. You smiled that familiar mocking smile, your eyes still closed.

You looked so peaceful. I miss you…

“You can never fool me, not even with your innocent look and silence,” You laughed heartily. “I know you too well. Your expression has always been a dead giveaway.”

“Nik.” I grinned, but somehow could feel my cheeks warm. “Come on.”

“No, you come on.” You shook your head. That smile was still on your face. “I can see that face, even when you try not to tell me or the whole world out of your usual shyness and disbelief. It’s the same face you see in your mind before you fall asleep – “

“How do you know?” You’re already dead, I’d wanted to say, feeling all choked up again. The last time I saw was that you finally turned to look at me. Your face looked serious this time.

“I know that you deserve to be happy. You always have, Rew.”

I woke up. My cheeks had been wet with tears. My body went cold and rigid. My hands were shaking.

Nik, what are you trying to tell me?

It had taken me half a day to remember what you first said in that dream:

“Aren’t you way too old to still be that scared?”

Then I knew. I breathed deeply at the thought of you.

You’re right. I guess I am.

Thank you, Nik. Rest in peace. I’ll always love you, buddy.




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