The pillow felt good against his cheek.
He couldn't bring himself to sleep, and during the wee hours before dawn there he was, staring at the serene expression of the boy in his arms, gently playing his fingers through the tangles of the hair messed on his shoulder. He wanted to brush the bangs away from the forehead of his friend, to touch him tenderly, to caress his temples.
They spent the night talking about the long days of childhood summers without each other in their lives, their loss and loneliness, what had happened to you I wish you'd been fine I love you.
He wished Mew had been fine, or he himself had been fine at least. He would like to reach the other's heart, hankered for the strength to pull him out of the desperate darkness. It was Mew who hauled him out when they all realized that Tang would never go home. In vain, to no avail. But the stubborn, lonely young pianist tried, so why couldn't he? Because he was there too that he could not muster his strength, if he ever had.
How could he help someone out of the shadows when he sank deeper as every day passed into the unfathomable void of tedium? The thought frightened him, but he couldn't imagine Mew trapped in an atrocious world laced with tales of sadness and seasoned with the taste of dark fear. He would not see him like that, would take him away, would not let him be. No way.
Staring at Mew, he found the closed lids, the faintly wet lashes. He wondered what dreams Mew were having, or what memories were coming back, or what fears for the future were giving him nightmares. He knew Mew could be very fragile but could for sure take care of himself, living in tranquility within the noise of the world they felt to be isolated from.
He didn't particularly think of Mew during the years they were apart, but that didn't mean he didn't think of him at all. Meeting again, however, made him look back to the past, reminded him of his lost sister, of how his dysfunctional family life began, and of the bittersweet memories of those days, of a friend he didn't know was the best thing that ever happened in his life.
He couldn't stop thinking about Mew now, especially upon realizing that he was the only person he certainly wanted to hangout with. He had other friends of course, but they mostly drank during Fridays and smoked cigarettes, bummed around the plaza and chattered about romances with girls─above all, about his relationship with Donut. He was fine with those things, although girls didn't seem to interest him much and he couldn't see the logic to narrate Donut's impetuous whining. But Mew was different. Mew didn't give a damn about the troublesome romances or his despotic mother or his *unnatural* sexual preference. And Mew knew about the strife circumstances brought that had been smashing his family for years, the emotional turmoil that was distressing him.
In a sudden twitch of heart, his thoughts shifted to the what-ifs that were most likely going to send his mother in scorn and scrutiny: What if it was Mew he was sitting with instead beside the glass walls of the café after school, talking to the phone every night about anything that came to mind, taking on a date at Siam Square on Christmas Day.
He looked up at the thoughts he imagined to appear like a balloon above his head. His lips curled to a smile and he chuckled silently at himself, shooed away the balloon when Mew drowsily grazed his head on his chest. He looked down and realized that he only went deeper into his slumber, found a comfortable position in his embrace. He felt his heartbeat go slightly faster, but he managed to wane out the tense.
Slowly, he circled his arms around Mew and pulled him in a firm hug, ran his fingers through the hair of his friend, his other hand loosely holding the other's waist, sometimes caressing through the back. His cheek was pressed against the softness of the pillow, his lips brushing against the mess of the bangs, their legs entangled together. Hugging male friends would make him feel like a fag, but with Mew, intimacy never mattered.
He dozed in their soporific position for a while, and woke up at the first sign of morning light. He thought of checking the time, and realized that his mother surely had been panicking with paranoia. Glancing at Mew, he decided to pull out from the hug without waking him. He wished Mew would walk him to the front door, bid him take care with a hand waving good-bye and lips curling into an adorable smile. With the other boy's current state, though, he'd rather wait for another time than break the hush of the gentle slumber.
He caught himself staring at the incomplete wooden Christmas toy he bought Mew as a souvenir from Chiangmai a few years ago before writing a note on a post-it memo he found on the computer desk. You were sound asleep in my arms. I tried not to wake you. He thought of saying a few things but found it inappropriate and doubted if he ever had words. The night before they spoke of loneliness and resentments, of the monotonous tone of their lives, of a darkness devouring the potential colors of their youth. But they were young still, had found each other and had all the time in the world to make up for what was lost. Exhilarations must replace their forebodings, and that should last forever.
He posted the note on the bed post near the desk and watched his sleeping friend for a moment. Confused but holding on. Anguished but caring. Without hesitation, he meekly gave Mew a kiss on the forehead, rolled the curtains free from the ties, walked out of the room and closed the door without breaking the comforting silence of understanding.