Pain

Friday morning, I woke up early and drove two and a half hours from Fairfax, Virginia to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to attend a traditional Buddhist ceremony for my homeboy Nate who passed away earlier this week due to a massive heart attack. The place was crowded inside; therefore, I just hung outside. I spotted a few recognizable faces even though I hadn’t seen them in over a decade.

After the ceremony, lunch was served. By the time I went to the line, all the food was gone. Sim, Nate’s older brother, invited me to his house to grab a quick bite before heading to the funeral home to see him for the last time before the cremation. By the time we arrived at the funeral home, which was the same place we chose for our mom, Nate’s family and friends were already there. I took a close look at him for the last time and said goodbye to my dear friend. His eldest sister Phan said a few words about her youngest brother. Nate lived his life to the fullest and he had a big heart. I fully concurred.

Since the cremation was reserved for family members only, I left the funeral home to visit my mom’s grave. I brought her some yellow roses and burned a few incense sticks. I stayed by her side and talked to her for a while. I missed her madly.

I headed back to Sim’s house to hang out a bit. He had a nice entertainment room in the basement with arcade games, a pool table, a foosball table, a gym, and a bar. Since when did Sim start to drink? Other than being an alcoholic, he was the same old Sim. He made me a gin and tonic and we played Street Fighters like the good old days. We took a Patron shot with a few old friends and reminisced about the past. Sim made me a Russian Mule and another one. I had a chance to catch up with their older brother Kumpherk, their nephew Quintin, and their cousins from Massachusetts. The liquor kicked in and I was talkative, especially with the people I hadn’t kept in touch for over a decade.

I left Sim’s house to meet up with my sister, niece, nephew, and Carol (their friend). I tried to eat, but couldn’t eat much. I ordered more drinks. I was planning on driving back to Virginia, but I didn’t think I could make it home. I stayed at my sister’s house just to be safe.

As I was lying in bed and trying to sleep, I started to get emotional. I lost my parents and my close friend within a few months. I thought liquor could help ease the pain, but it made the matter worse. I twisted and turned as the alcohol fucked with my head. I pulled out my phone to write. Then a Kanye verse came to mind: “When we die, the money we can’t keep / But we probably spend it all ’cause the pain ain’t cheap.” Life is short and full of suffering; therefore, we should just live to the fullest like Nate had. Even if we have to leave this temporary earth early, we would have no regrets.

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