Her name was Tere de Guzman. I call her Hachi.
We met through a common friend at a party last year. I remember her giving me a head-to-toe look when we were introduced. She got dead ass drunk that night that I had to literally carry her the next morning.
Several weeks later, I spent a night at her place for booze with her friends. More than 20 stories up, on a ledge she made me sit on despite my slight fear of heights, she said: “I’m tired. I just want to jump here and end it all.”
Last Saturday, she sent me this message: “What will be your last word to me if I die in a few days’ time?”
We had a lengthy conversation over the phone. I tried to talk her out of it. She sounded calm and normal even though she was talking about death. She insisted that her message wasn’t a cry for help; it was merely a chance to say goodbye. She said her mind was already made up and that nothing and no one could change it. She said she had been screaming for the past 14 years and no one was responding, and she just wanted to be free from everything at this point.
I asked: “give me a song to listen to.” She answered: “Forevermore.” It was the same song she requested I sing for her when we were up on the ledge.
She sent me a photo of a plate of food, captioned: “The best last meal.” She sent me a photo of her grocery basket — sugar-free cookies, Bread Stix, and Racumin.
Last Sunday, she was found dead at a hotel room in Baguio. With a rope around her neck.
I could be posting this on her Facebook wall. I could be addressing all these to her, because isn’t that what we usually do when someone dies? We flood their social media profile with messages of love, like they’d still be able to read it. But I won’t do that. She told me before, “The saddest part is people will come to me that day to tell me how much they love me. That day when I won’t hear them anymore.”
The last photo I have of us together was at Fully Booked in BGC. In between the rows of bookshelves, she told me she’d teach me how to live.