It was one of those days when you just wake up and sense that something is not right. It is hard to put your hand on precisely what went wrong but there is a nagging feeling which makes your heart sink somehow.
I dreaded the day and somehow even before it had begun, I wanted it to end.
With a half-hearted will, I got up and like always, my hand grazed my phone as it was one of those rituals that you never break.
There were 13 missed calls from Zarine and my heart sank as I saw that. She was never the one to call me so many times until it meant just one thing – trouble.
My mind dreaded all possible worst case scenarios.
She was my best friend since the time we both understood what friendship meant. Unfortunately, she had been battling a long war with fibromyalgia and for her, every day often felt like a battle. Sometimes, getting out of bed was a Herculean task for her. I had never met someone with such a strong willpower ever. She was in every sense my role model because whenever I saw her, I saw the kind of sheer strength and mind power she had in her.
I immediately hit the call button and when I heard her mom’s panic-stricken voice, my heart sank further.
“What happened aunty?” I asked with palpitating breath.
“Beta, can you please come here soon? I am sorry to bug you so early in the morning but Zarine is refusing to get out of bed and she only wants to meet you.”
I knew it was one of those days when even the toughest bones broke down. I knew that Zarine was fighting a lone battle and she too sometimes got tired. I knew that if I couldn’t be with her when she needed me the most, I wouldn’t just let her down but I would never be able to see myself in the eye either.
I sprang from the bed and let aunty know that I would be there at the earliest.
I knew exactly what I needed to show Zarine and even though every passing second hurt me as I knew Zarine was hurting, but it was important for me to get that thing. I knew that it was exactly what she needed to win this day over.
When I finally reached her home, I couldn’t stop my tears. Zarine lay in bed and her eyes were teary. I could see the pain break her bone and I could feel how she was dying a little every day.
“You’re here!” She whispered and tried her best to smile. I knew even this simple act was terribly hard for her but my presence mattered so much.
“What happened, Zarine?”
“Alisha, I don’t have it in me anymore to fight: the pain is killing me a little every day. I just don’t want to get out of bed anymore. I want you to know that you have taught me so much but I just want to give up. So I wanted to see you one last time before my journey here in this leg of the story is done. “
I couldn’t believe my own ears. This was the Zarine who was the epitome of self-strength. I had sensed her breaking resolute since the last few days and this is why I knew she would need what I had.
I simply took out the letter and placed it in her hands.
Nobody has seen tomorrow. No one knows what we will run into. Yesterday, I had almost given up. I wanted to close this chapter of life but I decided against it. Today, my mom told me that I would have a little baby to play with soon and truly I have never been happier.
Today my best friend also planned a three day trip to the amusement park I have never been to. For you, these may be little things, but at our age, this is all we seek.
What I want you to know is that every time you want to give up, close your eyes and gather the moments wherein life strengthened you. Think of all those people who love you, who you matter to and fight; fight because this life is a gift which we are meant to cherish.
You are stronger than the thought that asks you to quit. I didn’t and I won’t let you ever because a life saved is a life made. “
I showed it to her and she smiled knowing well that this was her letter that I had kept with me all these years. She wrote this letter when she first came to know that she had fibromyalgia and the pain had crushed her and so had the news. She wanted to quit but had stood her ground and had fought.
“I love you, Alisha.” She whispered and got out of bed and hugged me tightly.
3 months later.
As I stand at her funeral and the tears refuse to dry, I knew Zarine wasn’t a quitter. She fought till the last breath. She loved her full story and somehow it is she and her letter that helps me get out of bed every day even though I know that being a juvenile diabetic, my days here are numbered.
I will fight like Zarine did and so will you. Be the letter in someone’s story and save a life because lives matter and so do you.
I am living and loving. Are you?
This was the letter of #AHundredLittleFlames which has helped me be a fighter and not a quitter.
This post is inspired by A Hundred Little Flames book which can be purchased here.