(This post has remained drafted for more than a week, I wrote it in a frenzy as realisation struck me, and I didnt have the guts to post it. There are errors, the flow is inconsistent. I post things as a metaphor of letting them out in the world so as to make peace with myself. It is a silly re collection and many people may not see why it causes me grief. But it does. And I have no explanation for it)
For the past few days I haven’t been keeping well. I had my exams and despite them I was continously looking for an escape.
I have been very nervous, anxious, not sure of what to do.
I Couldn’t focus and couldn’t study anything.
There was something nagging at me, and I couldn’t quite place it.
All my life I have been very good at supressing things, events, feelings everything unpleasant instead of facing them. And often I would encounter days when I would get a nagging feeling of impending doom.
But these past few days, that nagging feeling was very strong. I was incapacitated, not able to move, walk, speak. It was as if my heart was sinking with every breath I took.
My exams went horrible, as expected. And today, finally on my way back from college.
It hit me.
It hit me like a bullet train.
Like a typhoon which obilitrates everything in its path.
Like the fire which turns one’s world to ashes.
One year ago today, was the last time I met my best friend – before he died.
It was a nice pleasant day. I had been busy packing, since my parents were moving to another town, and I would have to shift to the hostel.
He sent me a message, we decided to meet at the same place we met for all our evening soirees. At the face of it-it seemed like it was any other walk, like the hundreds we had taken, since his first chemo session.
But this one felt different. I thought it was so because I was moving away. Now when I think about it, it seems as though my gutt was giving me a hint. A hunch. I cannot quite put it in words. But it seemed different. Unique. And at that time it went around my mind that there will be newer walks too. This was like the rest.
I promised to stay in touch, he promised to keep me informed about his condition.
We said our good byes. and I left.Oblivious the two of us, of what fate had in mind.
I tried very hard to suppress the memories.There were so many “ifs” about it all. ‘If’ I knew it would be the last time I would have said something else, perhaps thanked him, for all that he did. Maybe told him a funny joke. Or wished him good luck to hang in there. Or that I would look out for his family. Something. Anything.
‘If’ he had known it was the last time-What would he have said ?
I kept replaying it all in mind, the colour of the sky, the Amaltas trees, the wind, the smell of his perfume. The way he hid from people on the sidewalks (5 cycles of Chemo had taken a toll on him. He was what he called himself- the Voldemort with a nose.) The way he goofily grinned when I inquired about his latest crush.
Not a day has gone by that I haven’t been reminded of my friend. In one way or another. And slowly I was learning to accept it. Learning that this was to follow me too, like a bell on my black dog. Quietly reminding me. Never letting me forget. Always tinkling. Always there.
Most of the days, I could somewhat handle it. I could sense the progression. Earlier I used to fight with it. But I learnt. So I would let the grief wash over me like a storm’s tide. I would submerge myself in it. And emerge back.
And somewhere I felt that I was getting stronger.
But today I didn’t see it coming. Maybe because I had worked very hard to suppress it. Diseases like cancer alter lives as we know them. They reduce a healthy living human being into a fragile organism. Compared to the grief that families have to go through, due to circumstance or divine intervention I was prevented from seeing my friend at his worst. My last memories of him are before he relapsed, and are thus happy memories in comparison to what his family suffered.
They say time heals wounds. One year is a long time. But I feel that no amount of time would be long enough. And as much as I hate feeling this way, I will have to live with it.
I wish it didn’t cause the effects it had on my exams.
Well there are a lot of things I wish. And as much as I wish I could forget, I know it will always remain, ‘The’ walk to remember.