Warm on a Cold Night

(picture taken from weheartit.com)

tw // suicide

“Can I pick you up?”

I didn’t know what could be happening in his head, but I know him: he could do anything out of his own senses when he’s not himself. And he was not himself that night. I could barely hear him through the phone because he was choking through his tears. I have friends who have struggled with suicidal thoughts, and with his emotions controlling his mind at that moment, I could not help to be extremely worried. Jesus, I hope he doesn’t have a noose in his hand. Or sleeping pills. Or a knife.
A few minutes later, he pulled up in my driveway. He went out and gave me a hug. Then, he looked at me in the eyes. “It’s over.”

We cruised the part of the I-5 south of Seattle while he told me all about the breakup. They only made it for less than a month when his boyfriend decided that it’s time for them to take a break. He was devastated. He had been in love with him for so long, and once the chance came for them to be together, it was over so fast. That was how he ended up calling me.

Driving has always been his consolation. For him, nothing feels more cathartic than to hit the steering wheel and go some place far away. He would spend hours looking at nothing but the quiet highway, passing through random cars and into the dusk. He does not care about destinations as much as he does with journeys; not in a ​Homer’s Odyssey ​ -like way, but because of the fact that he could be alone with his thoughts.
So, there were we, two people cruising on a quiet road, exchanging nothing, not even words, deafened by the silent sound of his emotions. “I don’t know… I just love him so much,” he said, between the silence, pushing back tears. We continued up the I-5 in the absence of interactions.

After a good few minutes, he handed me his AUX cord. “Can you help me play Honne’s ​Warm on a Cold Night?” I searched and pushed play. The radio intro and the deep synths engulfed the prior silence. The song itself evokes an image of driving on a highway at night, but I’ve never experienced the song quite like this; the emotional weight of the whole circumstance made the song feel heavier. I saw his tears falling down his cheek as the song reached its first verse. At that moment, all he felt was the constant, overbearing sadness, and I could not help but to feel it too. The careful melodies and the joy expressed in the lyrics felt different inside this car. Listening to a person talking about the abundance of love while being at the absence of it truly enhanced the human nature of jealousy — in this case, the loss of love — yet, at that moment, jealousy felt less like a sin, but more like a natural response. It dug a deeper trench — one that’s comfortable enough to dwell in for ages.

Newton declared that an object at rest remains in rest and an object in motion remains in motion, unless acted upon by a force. Being in that car at night with that song playing reflected that Newton, too, could be a psychologist. In that liminal state, feelings acted as objects: staying at rest. And there was an absence of force that caused it to remain at rest: at rest in heartbreak, at rest in sadness, at rest in jealousy.

As the song reached its end, he dropped me off to my house. He just needed someone to talk to. I prayed that night for him not to do anything stupid. And now, whenever I listen to the sound of a radio presenter declaring that it’s 3:17 AM — the intro of ​Warm on a Cold Night ​ — I will always be taken back to that liminal state of the absence of feelings, and I will always wonder about the motion of his soul, wherever he is.


Patricia Kusumaningtyasis an undergraduate computer science student (with a deep interest in computational linguistics) currently studying at Columbia University after transferring from a community college in the United States. When she’s not solving problem sets or analyzing The Iliad, you can find her enjoying obscure movies or conquering pop culture trivia. You can contact her through her email address at patricia.adiyoso@gmail.com.