H still thought it was a good idea for us to tag along. There wasn’t much else to do anyway, nor did we find any reason not to. We just agreed and went. At the party, the three of us kept on downing drinks, cracking up while we ransacked the fridge and whatever was there in the pantry; the birthday girl, whom we only met once, treated us like some delegates because we’ve got the funniest jokes that night. While the brightly colored confetti, like dirty snow, was sidelined soon after they touched the ground. They remained in the slums of spilled drinks with all the muddied cigarette ash on the floor as the faint breeze from the rotating stand fan plowed the half-deflated balloons, frustratingly convincing the onlookers that they still got a pulse. After some time, we slid out through the backdoor, sat by the pool, and watched the reflection of the moon quiver on its surface. My friends and I talked about old western tramways and isolation, argued about bullfights, spending afternoons in the countryside — we talked about this and that, mainly about the trip that would never happen. We stayed seated there, like some discarded tinsel, our backs pinned against the chicken fence while watching the moon shine low over a satellite dish.
They watched the night trains roll by the apartment window giving out occasional electric sparks. It almost felt like counting sheep, but they didn’t work. Their iron wheels on the flat-footed rails were heavy and their hisses sharp. Besides, it wasn’t the time for sleep. When the time came, as the clock went off, it cued the man to get up and get dressed, to pocket his keys together with his phone, pulled out a few notes, and paid her rate. He wanted to stay a bit longer, say something nice, talk more, perhaps about where she’d got that new dress. He thought about calling room service before hitting the road. But her moonlight face chose to stay in the night, her light would drown in the sun; she’d be inconspicuous and ordinary. Her faint glow needed the dark alright, but the shine consigned was at a price that he could never afford.
In the end, he’d sorted out his affairs just before things got worse. It was the best advice he got from his physician since the time he started seeing him. He would have phoned his lawyer to help him out with his estate if only he had any. At least his debts would die with him, it was little consolations like this that he’d leave behind for his loved ones which he hoped would merit a good enough eulogy. A few nice lines were enough, perhaps some of them would stay for the cake. He imagined it would rain and everyone would bring their black umbrellas, wearing the same type of clothing, perhaps play his favorite song. However, during the service, the sky was clear, there wasn’t a single patch of cloud that can be seen. The sun was out, shining, wildflowers sprouted everywhere while little canaries sang in the blowing wind from afar. It was as if the day wasn’t even trying.
The ward where they placed him was humid and cramped. But for crazy people like himself, things like these were mere trivial matters. During art lessons, the woman, a year or two older than he was, started humming a tune while she dabbled the paintbrush on the canvas. Nobody in the room realized it at first, but the song, although made up, resonated with everyone, especially with the young man. They just knew. It was like an anthem sang by angels.