The Bonfire was burning wildly even before the winners of the Mr. & Ms. REDxSUMMER was announced. I can feel my heart filled with excitement and nerve as I knew what was coming. I needed to be strong for this next part of the program and i was not sure I won’t break down.
The group gathered around the bonfire, There was a short game of Bodyshots but it was followed by what I was looking forward to.
Letting Go & Moving On
While @chefpos and I were busy setting up the fountains, @jonstaycool was already in the middle of the circle talking about the significance of the activity. It was about remembering people who fought and left because of HIV and AIDS related complications.
So around 8-10 pairs were asked to hold the lanterns, as i turned around from where we were, i saw the lamps starting to float one at a time. I took a deep breath holding back my emotions. I didn’t want to make a scene yet again as what i did last December during the #REDx candlelight ceremony.
As the lanterns flew, @chefpos and I started to light the fountains. The shore brightened up for a few seconds. I felt as if hope shined in the middle of a very dark room.
The Floating Candles
The guys around the circle had candles (tea lights) placed inside shallow cups. Everyone was asked to ease the candles into the calm sea. While the waves gently directed itself towards the quiet shore line, the candles floated away from the shore. Soon enough, one can see lights floating far from the shore, as if man-made lights were set up in the middle of the sea.
It was over
Everyone went back to the bonfire where @Kaskade08 rendered a fire dance. I noticed @fauxpositif was still by the shore, standing still, staring blankly into the vast dark see with only glimpses of sparks from the candles floating from afar. I walked over to him and he was crying. Crying over a friend who passed away three days ago. I knew I can’t do anything, I can do nothing. I just hugged him tightly and cried with him.
Mine was no longer about those who died from HIV and AIDS. Mine were tears of frustration from the HIV Community-related issues. While I knew the community was fine and happy, that the community will thrive and will be better, I was frustrated with the issues we were facing. Issues with Whys and Hows that I cannot seem to answer.
The crowd was both amazed and amused with the show of skills and perfect movements by @Kaskade08 as the song “Free” seemingly played along with his movements. I was at the back of the group. Staring. Amazed myself. Half smiling.
But my heart was screaming from frustration..
Silence by the Shore
After @Kaskade08‘s dance number, people went on to the karaoke area where booze and cocktails were served. I was left by the shore with @fauxpositif. There was silence. Deafening and painful. After a few minutes, @fauxpositif walked over to where the group was.
I looked over the bonfire area and @VickyBeki was sitting near the spot where we had the bonfire earlier, with a bottle of beer in his hand. I sat with him and took a deep sigh. I started crying yet again. There were still a few boxes of sparklers left and he started lighting them by fives– each time the sparks were short-lived.
I felt the sparklers were the hope in me. Constantly being shut down by distractions and challenges, and I just had to keep on lighting them back up.
And I smiled. I was okay. i thought I was okay.
@fauxpositif joined us shortly as I noticed a silhouette by the shore. I asked @fauxpositif who that was and amazingly, he recognized the silhouette to be @Yelchin13. I walked over and asked @Yelchin13 what he was doing. He kept his silence. A few seconds after, he then said it was his first time to actually think and process his HIV Status. He never had the chance to do so and this was the only time he finally did. With the usual worries and anxieties of a newly diagnosed — His future & his family– I just had to stand with him and listen — and hold him tightly.
The Night Was Over
For me, at least, the night was over. Others were still singing and drinking. Chatting and Laughing. My night was over. i knew I met at least three blood brothers who was there not just for fun, but also for the future.
i knew a lot of the “kids” were having a “blast” and that was more than what the organizing team could ever ask for.
I knew that new friendships were formed during the #REDxSUMMER in this small private island.
One can hear the generator running from a distance to give us our little lighting supply and powering up the karaoke.
One can hear the laughters and loud singings.
But everyone can clearly hear the happiness that overflows in each and every heart of my friend on that island.
I am #REDx
I am happy.
I am grateful.