Sometimes I think I see her give a subtle sigh in the middle of conversations. There are times when everyone else is busy being happy or worried or mad or whatever it is that friends do when they hang out together, that I catch her turning her head towards the crowd and smile so regretfully. At that moment, she seem to detach herself from her friends and instead, see them as a third person or more accurately, it feels like she’s in another dimension and is there watching what could have been an alternate universe. She always makes that look in those instances — it was not enjoyment, not exasperation nor boredom. It was the look of someone with fondness and sadness in her eyes, like meeting the characters of a book you’ve decided to reread when you already know what will happen to them or that look you have when you see old photographs of you being so carefree and innocent while knowing those times would never again occur. But as sudden as it came, there was the same swiftness of it going. It was like watching a magic trick or a sleight of the hand— I was always so sure it was there until it was not. And she smile her bright smile and give a big sigh as if she had made a deal with herself or probably remembered a decision she had already done long ago and so there is nothing to do but go on. There is a certain heaviness and finality every time she does that —like she is merely abandoning herself in the moment and trusting her smile to carry her on one day at a time. It’s those fleeting moments that I see how vulnerable she is despite the strength that she displays.

She is gone now.

But I still remember her — her hair, like gazing at the color of starless night even in the middle of the sun’s mercy, her stern look which occasionally breaks to paint her laughing face over some joke her bestfriend had conjured and her eyes, always her eyes. Everything about her may lie but no, never her eyes. For her eyes had that unfathomable sorrow like she was seeing a tragic end before it was even decided by whatever force that moves us in this universe… But perhaps, perhaps, she did.

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