I went home last night a bit past midnight, tired from two back-to-back meetings and an intense conversation with Banjo (on political and ideological frames, naks) at Kyusinero. After taking a quick shower and brushing my teeth, I slipped under my blanket and prepared to go to sleep. Then, my phone — which I always keep under my pillow — beeped.
I figured it would be Enteng or Banjo, asking if I had gotten home safely, so I sleepily opened my inbox to read the message.
It turns out to be an unknown number. “M so dpressd. I want 2 kill myself.”
My first instinct was to text back, “who’s this please?” but then I was scared that that person was a friend whose new number I had inadvertently failed to record. Maybe my asking who he or she was would deepen feelings of alienation (yez, kaya yan isipin ng aking sleep-fogged brain).
So my reply was: “pls don’t. watever it is u’r going thru now, it’s not worth killing urself for.”
Ang reply: “I h8 life.”
My reply: “Teka, asan ka ba?” (nasa logistics mode na ako.)
“Can u giv me just a gen idea of wat ur crisis is?”
“D ko kyang mwala sya.” (ah. breakup.)
“Yes, masakit nga yan. I had just been thru a breakup 2 wks ago. But d key is to trust in ur own resilience.”
“Di ko kya.”
“May kasama ka ba ngayon?”
“No, m all alone. Haha. All alone.”
At that point, I decided to call the number. I was already out of bed, in front of the computer, googling tips on how best to approach a suicidal person. It occured to me of course that this could be one big stupid joke. But then why risk it? If I see a stranger with flailing arms on the rails of the overpass, I probably would bodily drag him down and try to talk to him. And if it turns out it was just his sick sense of fun at work, saka nalang kami magsumbatan.
I was calling the number, ring ng ring, and then the line went dead. Subscriber cannot be reached. I was extremely bothered, and couldn’t go back to sleep right away. All sorts of scenarios were playing in my mind.
This morning, when I woke up, I texted the number again.
“Good morning! Hope u have a great day ahead. Kaya mo yan. Txt ka lang sa akin pag nalulungkot ka.”
I tried calling. Instead of the standard ringing tone which I got last night, I found myself listening to a ringback tune. “Bluer than blue, sadder than saaaaad, you’re the only light this empty room has ever haaaaaaad.” I heaved a sigh of relief. That ought to mean he or she hasn’t ended his life.
And I can go on with mine.🙂