As she lied on the hospital bed, she was trembling as she stretched her hand to touch my mine. Her hand was so cold, all the softness and warmth had gone with the sickness. As she squeezed my palm lightly she, asked her family to leave. Visiting hour was almost up. I kissed the back of her hand gently. I was heading towards the door when she said “Gift I am dying..Um..umm.m, this is for you”. She placed a roughly scribbled letter into my palm. It was written with a bold lettering on its envelope. I stuffed it in the back of my pocket and I could not hold the tears that were streaming down the contours of my face. I promised her to come back the next day with his favorite fruits during the visiting hour. She touched my hand gently, before letting me go.
Outside I took the letter out of my trousers back pocket.
And it Read…..
I hope you will find all the happiness in life
I know I won’t be there by then
By the time you will read this letter
I won’t be here, I would have been gone
If only, I listened to you I would have stayed
I would have changed my behavior
But it’s no use crying over spilt milk
The damage has already been done
It’s too late now
I have been living on a borrowed life
All along I have been battling with the virus
I have been avoiding disclosure
Finally I can’t go ahead
I have been living in self-denial
Let me rest a bit
The angels are already smiling at me
Will miss each other
Till we meet again
Your childhood friend
As news of her death spread like veld fire in our small town, I came to the sad realisation that I had lost a true childhood friend. The day when she touched me, whilst she was battling for life on that squeaky hospital bed brought me fond memories of our childhood days. As she lay on top of those white linen sheets, I felt her slipping away from my life, the same way a soap can slip away from the hand. If there is anything great that ever happened to me in my life, it was her. She was young, beautiful and jovial. We grew up in the same neighbourhood, we used to steal our neighbours’ mangoes together, tease each other and play together. We were just like that, until we finished our secondary school. That is when she got a Presidential scholarship to study in South Africa. She used to send me her pictures in the beach and in various night clubs and other nice places. I knew she was heading for disaster. But all my advice fell on deaf ears, until she started engaging in risky sexual behavoiur.Eventually, fate took its course.
The doctor had diagnosed that it was too late for her to take Anti-Retroviral Drugs. Her immune system was very weak. Little did I know about her ailment, her family had told me that it was Mengitis.Rebekah was only waiting for her time and date. She was living on a borrowed time. We used to ride our bicycles in a single file in the neighbourhood during the heydays of our youth hood, we used to pelt each other with stones over the fence. We were indeed good neighbours, but more importantly we were the best of friends. All these are childhood memories. In her I lost I dear Friend.