may the sunset never forget

It’s a tug-of-war between day and night as the sun slowly finds its way down to meet the sea, creating a perfectly golden pathway that stretches from the horizon all the way to the shore. Only the sound of the waves traveling and crashing can be heard, echoing throughout the shores that just felt emptier than ever. This sadness of a place was once a witness of a story that was never told but has always been remembered, and even though it felt a little bigger than it did years ago, there is no denying that it is still home, and Teh knew that. 

It has been three years since he last visited the place—three years without feeling the soft sand against his feet, three years without seeing the light sprawled across its playful waters, and three, longing years without hearing the familiar laugh that once filled it and chimed with its waves. Teh doesn’t have any idea why he’s here. All he knew was the feeling of being stuck in a labyrinth that didn’t seem to have any way out. He’s been walking and running in it for a whole week now, climbing walls and taking a turn every chance he gets. He’s still hopelessly lost, but for some reason, his feet brought him here, to the place where everything started, and where everything also inevitably ended. 

The golden pathway is a bit fainter now, the sun getting more and more shy by the second as it lazily touches the horizon. 

“So, we meet again.” 

Teh whispered to the wind, hoping that it would carry his voice and whisper it back to the sunset. He closed his eyes, slightly feeling the cold breeze bite his skin. Teh shivered in response, but he found comfort in the cold as he remembered and reminisced everything that once was. 

He slowly opened his eyes, and the first thing he saw was a boy whose eyes were filled with confusion and were looking straight back at him. The boy was covering both his ears with his hands whilst slowly moving closer to him, the boy’s back a bit slouched. 

“I’m Oh-aew!” The boy screamed at his ears, his voice being drowned by the firecrackers exploding just meters beside them. Teh screamed back his name, but not before noticing the moles that sat just below the boy’s eyes. He’s never seen moles that complemented a face more perfectly than that of the boy that stood in front of him. At that very moment, Teh felt something strange in his stomach, and as a child whose innocence is untainted, he didn’t have the slightest idea of what it was. 

Perhaps, it’s just the anxiety of hearing the loud noises. Or so he thought.

He sat next to the boy in their class. It was then the start of a blooming friendship—sharing the same enthusia******, talking about their dreams, skipping classes, and simply having their fair share of sincerity and mischief in almost all things. 

Everything felt nice, including the time when they were floating on the sea that one Thursday morning they didn’t attend their class. That was the very first time they visited the beach together, and boy did they enjoy. After all, they had each other. And they always did. They went there whenever they felt like it, just occasionally, until it became frequent, and until it became almost everyday. It was their place. That was how they established it, but more than that, it was because they came to know it very well, as the sea knew them as well. 

Oftentimes, the two boys would end their day eating at Teh’s place, savoring a bowl of hokkien mee while talking about whatever they had in their minds, no holds barred. They liked talking, but only when it’s with each other. There was no pretense. They were 10, and just like any other 10-year old, they were carefree. 

Teh would always ask, “Ke yi ma?”

And the other boy would always answer, “Ke yi.” 

And for a moment, that was all that mattered.

But like all the good things in the world, the happy times didn’t really last long. They might have talked about everything, but usually, it’s just about the tip of their icebergs. What they didn’t know was that there’s still plenty more ice hidden below the waters. It was no pretense. They were just oblivious.

It was a friendship planted in good soil, nurtured with laughter and honesty, and grew bigger with time. It wasn’t only until one night when both of them regrettably pulled it from its roots, and left it there lying on the ground to rot. What were they supposed to do, when both of them felt like they got robbed and invalidated of their dreams? 

They were 10. And that was all they knew. 

They didn’t know that after that, after that one night when voices were raised and dagger of words were exchanged, years would be lost. Both grew into the young ***************s they didn’t really expect themselves to be. Teh was ******art. He easily aced exams and gained even more confidence, making him more ambitious than ever. He got better in Chinese. He was thriving. 

Whilst the other boy… 

Where was he? 

Teh didn’t know. 

Seven Christmases passed and that was only when he got to know the answer, and he found it in an old classroom, in an old building just a few minutes away from his home. Teh wasn’t even looking for him. He just kept shoving the past more aggressively behind them, but then there he was. The boy. 

Or the man? 

Teh wasn’t sure. Because the boy with the perfectly aligned moles certainly looked way more mature and handsome now with his red jacket. There was that familiar sparkle in his eyes, but everything about him already seemed different. Maybe it was the way he sat that made him look more confident? Or perhaps, it was the way he looked at Teh that spoke of the anger and longing he kept all those years? That was the first time they saw each other again. They were 10 back then, and all of a sudden, they were 17. 

It wasn’t easy for them, seeing and being with a glimmer of their past, especially one they thought they loathed. Their worlds became ******all again, slightly suffocating them when the other was around. Every single move felt heavy, as if there’s always a pair of eyes staring at them that they couldn’t help but feel conscious all the time. 

Suffice to say that both boys put on a competitive front, but beneath that, there was an insecurity none of them had the courage to admit to themselves. Instead, they resorted to ways they felt could inflict the most pain to the other, not thinking that at the end of the day, it all backfires to them. 

It was only then that they realized, they weren’t really angry. They were yearning. It was one of those moments when the line separating both feelings became thoroughly faded that one could easily be mistaken as the other. Amidst all that, amidst all the bickering and tears and raised voices, they longed for each other. 

And it took them time to let that sink in.

“Ke yi ma?” Teh asked.

“Ke yi.” The other boy answered, now with more conviction.  

All those years they lost weren’t exactly a plethora of bliss, instead, it’s more like a trip in a circle, a full 360, because now, they’re back at square one. 

They had the best time picking up the pieces they once abandoned, and finding the memories that were once lost. The sea got to hear their laughters again, the only difference being their voices became deeper. They went there almost everyday, be it a weekday or a weekend, sometimes after tutorials, and oftentimes just for fun. They would float on the sea just like they used to, closing their eyes and hearing only the gentle whispers of the water. They would run free on the sand whilst chasing each other, as if they’re the only people to ever exist. After all, that was what it seemed. Whenever they were together, an invisible bubble would go up around them, confining them in a world that only they had the privilege to know.

Most nights, they would go on road trips whilst riding on Teh’s humble tricycle, filling the silent and empty streets with their screams and laughter. Teh drove and the other boy sat on his side, the latter sometimes raising his arms to feel and go against the wind. 

It was pure bliss. Both of them found solace and contentment in the simplest of things. As they always do when they were together, they put the beauty in the mundane. 

In the middle of it all, though, Teh noticed something… strange. 

He didn’t know when or where it started, but what he did know was there certainly was something different that particular Monday afternoon, when he was walking by the beach with the boy. Teh missed him, obviously. But that moment, it felt like it was more than just missing. It was more like finding something that he didn’t know existed, and feeling something that he didn’t know was possible. 

The subtle touches and hugs suddenly felt different. From being innocent, they became meaningful, and from meaningful, they became intimate. That night, they ************ed—in Teh’s room, when everybody downstairs was busy doing whatever and was oblivious of the two boys doing wonder in each other’s bodies upstairs. 

“What?” The other boy asked whilst stroking Teh’s dick. The latter was looking at him with heavy eyes and with lips parted, and the former didn’t know why he was wearing that look. 

“It feels good.” Teh answered, ******iling at him and panting in the process. A couple more minutes and Teh shivered. “Ugh.” He gave out a sigh of relief, feeling that familiar explosion the third time that night. 

It was their first, but it certainly wasn’t the last. They didn’t know what it meant just yet, all they knew was it felt good and that having each other on tangled sheets haven’t felt so nicer. 

One night they were back on the beach, lying on their back on the sand as they stared at the stars, creating and naming their own constellations.

“Teh?” The boy called him. 


“Do you love me?”

Teh looked at the boy, turning his head to his left. “Love?” He asked back. “How do I know if I love a person?” 

The boy was silent for a while, getting up on his elbows and traced Teh’s face with his finger, from the latter’s forehead, down to his eyes, to the bridge of his nose, and finally to his soft, parted lips. “I don’t know. You tell me.” 

Teh turned his head back, staring at the skies again. He remembered the comfort he found in the silence, in the moans, and everything in between. It was like his eyes were opened to a new world and he just discovered the most consequential thing in his life. All of a sudden, he realized that the other boy’s laughter wasn’t just a mere sound anymore, it became a melody to his ears. The lights from the streets inexplicably seemed a hundred times brighter during their roadtrips, and the moonlight—the moonlight never looked so beautiful unless they were reflected on the boy’s eyes. 

He moved his left arm, searching for the hand beside him that could fill the spaces between his, and it did. “Yes, I do love you.”  

“Do you think we could stay like this, then? In five, ten, twenty years?

“Of course. Why wouldn’t we?” Teh answered with certainty.

They were 17. And that was all they knew. 

They didn’t know that after that, after four years of living and fighting in bliss, they would fall victim under the hands of the world’s greatest culprit—change. Those four years in college they spent together was undeniably one of the greatest and happiest times of their lives, but only a fool would think that it could actually last forever. 

Truth is, one of them was a fool, and it was most certainly not Teh. 

Both of them were ambitious. Both of them had dreams. The only difference was that Teh wanted more, so when a high-class theatre in New York recruited him, he was fast to say yes. He was fast to leave. 

The thing about dreams is people are always fast to bite when an opportunity comes around, especially if it’s one they so least expect. Teh didn’t want to leave the boy, he truly didn’t, but the thing is he was more scared of losing that one chance to fame that he had wanted ever since the dream first sprouted in him. And so at 21, he left. 

Teh did try, though, to leave something that the other boy could hold on to, and something that he could also go back to—a promise. A promise that they make living on either side of the world temporary, that they always keep in touch, that they won’t forget and get forgotten, and that they always remember the words that were said that one night back when they were just 17. 

But who were they kidding? 

The other boy may have been a fool but he wasn’t a fool for long. The promise, he did hold on to it, but eventually he had to let go. And Teh? He did go back to it, but that was all there is. A promise. 

Because here he is now, at 24, sitting alone in front of the sea, whispering their story to the sunset instead of living and continuing it. He didn’t regret leaving, that he is sure. He just wished that he knew then what he knows now.

He could have loved the boy better. He could have gone back when he had the time. He could have fought for him when he had the chance. 

But then again he didn’t, and he has to live with it. 

Teh’s phone suddenly rang in his pocket, taking him out of his reverie. He stood up and checked the caller. It was his boy. 


It was Oh-aew. 


“Hello my ass. Will you come tomorrow or what? I haven’t heard anything from you since last week.” The voice on the line said. 

Teh chuckled. “Of course I will. I’m your best man. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” 

“Good. See you tomorrow, then?” 

“Yes. See you, Oh.” 

There was silence after that, nobody was talking. All that can be heard were their breaths. In his faintest whisper, Teh asked, “Ke yi ma?” But just when he let go of the words, the call also ended. 

Teh let out a sigh as he put his phone back in his pocket, and then took one last glimpse of the horizon. The sun has fully set now, and the moon and the stars have already taken over the skies. 

“I hope you remember our story.” Teh whispered to the sunset, although he knew that it couldn’t hear him anymore.


Thank you for reading <3


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