06 November 2015


-in loving memories of Yazid

“Things will be okay.”

I’d imagine he’ll say that to me when things go awry. But he just didn’t. Or will never.

There were days when you thought you had it all in hand, when slowly all of it slipping through your fingers like sand. Fine, smooth sand.

 “I remember watching you from a distance. Wanting to be friends.”

We were indeed friends. We were happy. What makes us different from what we were is simply a slip of fate.

You were stronger than all 14 of us combined. Cancer took your hand first when you were just 16, before it took your life. You suffered the harshest pain, and you evoked the most tears.

I remember coming back to your room after you had gone, trying to remind myself that you had not gone for good. Not yet. I won’t allow myself to believe that you won’t come back.

Those colourful stickers with cheerful characters; the free merchandise from the foolspad you stick on the locker’s doors – somehow a reminder that we had not totally let go of our childhood. The plastic Fruit Plus sweets wrappers you decorate your locker with – sure that was strange, but resourceful indeed. Some medications you left behind which were wrongly prescribed to you because they didn’t know you had cancer – in fact, we all didn’t know. I remember it all, like it happened just yesterday.

I remember I cried and I kissed your forehead and cheeks when I met you in the hospital the last time because a few days before we knew you were sick I talked bad stuff behind your back and now I regretted it. Sadly, we only came to you when they said the cancer was too severe they could not save your hand.
We confided in each other, we knew each others’ secrets just like we know the back of our own hands. We were after all, still children with our own childhood fears and childhood crushes.

You died, 7 years ago, on the 1st of July. Your memories assembled themselves as a timeline in my brain, projecting themselves in a cinema-like motion. I still remember every time you came back from your drama training during my first month in the school, when we would talk about lots of things. Then your hand grew bigger by my second month and we made fun of it. But by time, it kept on growing without signs of slowing down, and it hurts you from time to time, but little did we know it was tumour - laughing carelessly about it still. 

By the time we knew it was bone cancer, you were no longer with us. You could not be with us. I remember 
seeing you few minutes on the wheelchair before they amputated your hand, and it pained me just to think that the next time you woke up your hand would no longer be at its place. 

But even in face of sadness, you could afford a wounded smile. Still joking about where they would bury your amputated hand.

You excelled your SPM with numbers of A’s twice than my own, despite the cancer and despite losing your right hand. We went into the same matriculation college, where I promised myself I would take care of you, the one with the prosthetic hand, as much as I could.

But before long, chemotherapy kept you away from me most of the time. By now, you’ve lost a large chunk of your hair, and you covered it up with a snow cap.

I never knew the last time I would see you; it was a definite last time. You hurried to get home for a chemotherapy session and you said you’ll get back in 2 weeks.

But before 2 weeks, you went back to the Almighty first. They said they found traces of malignant cancer in your lungs, despite the chemotherapy. It’s tragic how a simple phone call told me that you were no longer, that you are gone. It all happened just like that, unannounced. 

I wasn’t even there to say goodbye one last time before they buried you. I cried a bit, but most of all I was glad you were now relieved off the pain, the cancer you’ve battled against the past 2 years that has taken its toll on you. 

I went to your house to see your parents one last time a few weeks after your death, not knowing what to say or do. They were stronger than I do, or did, definitely. I felt like I came to your house as a defeated friend, as if the fact that you were gone has something to do with my inability to keep you safe, as if it was really my shortcoming that it all happened.  

Sometimes I wish I could tell you how sorry I am, I’m sorry that I was inadequate, that my lack of actions perhaps have led you to your untimely demise, that I did not do enough to ward off the pain from you, and most of it all that I wronged you for being angry at you before you were gone. That writing this about you would not do you justice, and I’m terribly sorry for that. 

But as much as I want you back, I know that you are now in a far better place where you suffer no more.
Al-Fatihah Yazid. 

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