There, the only thing that mattered was darkness. The darkness we hid under, the darkness we clung on, the solitude we sought to get us out from everything our heart couldn't kill.
I took a ferry to Bintan and arrived around midnight. My best friend came to get me from the terminal, and with the car windows down and the wind blowing hard, we strolled fast around the island alongside the ocean, laughing and drinking and being very happy that we're there together, feeling stronger and less lonely. On our way to his house (where I was staying at), we stopped over at a restaurant for late dinner by the beach. People were already showing their friendliness that I had a good feeling about this getaway. We had local seafood and beer and talked nonsensically about the future, how we had no idea where life is going to take us to, and we decided to live young. But most of all, how glad we were that my best friend and I, we always make time to get each other's back.
The next morning we rode around the island and took many landscape pictures. The road was quite and burning, we almost always cut our stops short because of the unbearable heat. But I liked the quietness, it was almost as if we're the only people that existed. It was the last week of fasting month which was probably why there weren't that many people outside. Another friend joined us later on and it became the three of us throughout the trip. I was on my period so we made several stops for lunch and snacks and luckily most people were still fasting so restaurants weren't crowded at all. The day passed by quickly as we spent most of our time on the road, going from one place to another to take pictures and pause in between wild thoughts.
We drove through the beautiful sunset on our way to meet my best friend's family for dinner. We didn't eat anything though, we've already got another dinner plan someplace else. We went to Akau later on, where there were seafood stalls and coffee stands. There were so many interesting objects to photograph, the beautiful mess and smokes that made the best compositions in my pictures. My friends looked for a table when I walked around the food market photographing chinese kids who were attracted to my camera. Not long after I looked for our seat my friends had picked, when the kids I photographed before tailed me to our table and quickly snapped pictures of me from behind with a phone camera that looked like their dad's, and ran away laughing.
The night got older and it was almost 1 AM, dinner was over and we're headed to the hills. The road was pitch black, there were almost no road lights so the stars were glowing and very visible, our car windows were completely rolled down. We made several stops to photograph the night sky, the exploding stars for dinner two nights in a row. Whenever we pulled over, the fear of being outside in the dark died the second I looked up and saw through the Universe. The last time I saw that many stars was probably in Gili two years ago, and in Bandung a year ago. We almost ran out of patience every time we had to wait for every single photograph to process. Taking photos of the stars were exhausting, but the amazing results made up for the time and energy we spent. There were endless laughters and storytelling in between switching turns in using my camera. We once pulled over on a bridge and as my camera was laid on top of the car (none of us had tripod) and recording moments, we ran around the empty road, thinking what if suddenly cars or motorbikes run us over. We kept making stories up whenever we heard noises in the dark, trying to scare each other out but always ended up with inside jokes or harmless mockeries. We felt boundless, like curious souls trying to swallow the world and we diffused into stardusts.
We went home at 3 AM and overslept until noon. My friends rushed me to the ferry terminal after lunch because it's time for me to board. I hugged them goodbye and I promised them I'll stay longer in Bintan the next time around. It was a tough 2 hours boat ride back to Singapore, restless and wanting a longer holiday.
• Photographed by Nara while taking photographs in Busung •