Bryan's my best friend. He was more than a best friend to me, he was my brother. I didn't have any brothers and most of my cousins were females. When you were young, that is difficult because they were all playing girly games whilst I was more interested in climbing trees and catching tadpoles. I always wanted (still do) want an older brother. I met Bryan when I was 13. We were both volunteering for the same organisation and he was my leader. He was 15 then.
Bryan, Albert, Donny, Joseph and I used to hang out all the time. Everyday after school, we'd hit the basketball court. Saturday mornings, it was always basketball for 2 hours straight. Lunch. Then meeting. And hung out for a bit and then home. For 4 years we all did that. We literally grew up together.
Bryan was the eldest amongst all of us and he was training us as well. About 5' 6", short spiky hair, tanned and he was always regarded as the cool guy. He was a great leader as well. Always smiling and cracking jokes. He was full of compassion and a brother or best friend anyone could have.
Bryan was a brother figure to me. He was the first person I turn to when I was in doubt and he was almost the only person I would ask for advices at that time. You know, me being a teenager at that time, hating the entire world and rebelling against my parents, he had to cope with quite a lot of shit from me. Poor dude but he never complained. Always offering me his ears and advices. If he doesn't have any advice, he'd listen to me rant and then we'd go get food - everyone close to me knows that nothing makes me happier than good food, good coffee, good sleep or good friends. Better if all combined.
No, he knew nothing about my sexuality. We never talked about that. He had a long-term girlfriend at that time who I was very close to as well. We talked about everything and anything under the sun except that; and no, we never had any sexual experience - we were blokes (one straight and the other straight acting - me) being the best of mates.
Aaah. The good old teenage days.
7 years ago, Bryan turned 18 and we had a small celebration at school after class was over. We bought him a cake and a group of us hung out after school and made a scene of him turning the big one-eight. The cake was more of a joke - cake on your birthday in an all-boys school was a bit lame and uncool. You know what I mean. We were kool kids back then and we were pretty popular at school as well, so even if we do the lamest, most uncool and pretty ridiculous stuff, they were still considered as cool.
We never got to eat the cake because we ended up chucking the cake at each other after he blew the candle. Back in those days, we never bothered buying the best cake, we bought the one with the most and with the thickest icing on them. Ha!
We also threw him into the fountain. After a while, one by one, we all got in as well. The fountain was covered with icing by the end of it. Good fun.
That was also Bryan's last birthday.
One month and a day after his birthday, he went swimming and drowned. He died on the day itself. I died with him. If I did not die then, I would be a very, very different person now - I don't think I would even be here, trying to be successful and significant in my passion.
Photo credit: Onkel_wart
His death was an extremely painful journey that took me months to heal. That is a blog entry altogether. It was so painful at one point, I did not want to live anymore. But since that incident, I swore to myself that no one deserves to go through this pain.
Bryan did not choose to die - he had to die. For that reason, youth suicide is a very personal thing to me, because I not only believe that no one deserves to go through the grief especially being teenagers, but choosing death is wrong in every sense. People choose death because of their circumstances and if people are choosing death, it means as a society, as human being, we are failing our own people.
Since Bryan's 18th birthday, birthdays become a whole lot more significant to me. I never celebrated my birthday when I was young mainly because we were poor but later, we were just never used to it. My first birthday party was when I was 17, almost a year after Bryan's death. I figured it could be my last one too.
So today, I honour my best friend.
Photo credit: jakescreations
Happy birthday Bryan.