Girl with the smile

She was sitting in the park staring into oblivion. An unexpected smile brought a warm glow on her face. I sensed it must be a happy memory. I didn’t speak to her as she had this calmness in her aura, which was oozing out and touched me soothingly. I was not a complete mess but was far from been organized. I don’t remember when was the last time I had zoned out like her and made trip down the memory lane. Off late all I could think of was ‘When will I die, because I don’t think they will be able to save me.

The atmosphere here is not completely encouraging; after all it’s a facility for cancer patients. We see death very closely and very often. It’s depressing, we are depressing and of course it pulls me down in deep depression. I had bigger plans for life, better dreams to chase. Certainly, I had not given a thought to death, let alone imagine dying this way. I am still in the denial phase, unable to accept that immortality is a farce. I have absolutely no idea if I will ever have the phase of acceptance.

While I continued to look at her, I figured she looked quite sorted, content, as if she had come to terms with fate. She seemed to understand that this is the time she had to live, laugh, love and finally bid her goodbye. This irritated me, knowing that a girl who has just turned 23 has it all sorted whereas I was still trying to chase death. At 50, I was jealous of her, not in bad way though. I was happy for her and she seemed to encourage me and give me hope.

Looking at her, I started reconsidering my priorities. I was holding onto the things which were so invaluable now. I was avoiding the inevitable. I was going to die a slow and painful death, as per what they told me. I wanted to know the reason behind that smile which brought a glow despite the deadly disease. I mustered courage and asked her — “What are you smiling at? I see no reason here to feel bright, sorry, I don’t wish to interrupt your thoughts”. She replied, “Of course not.” I went on to ask “Could you share the memory which brought a smile on your face, if it’s not too personal.” She smiled and said, “I am a writer, I mean I have recently started writing. It was my dream to write a book of my own, filled with adventures and full of experiences.” with a pause she continued, “This cancer has slowed me down. For a couple of months all I could think of was death and all the sad realities of life. But today I realized this is one of the biggest adventures and experiences of my life. I want to write down everything about it. I don’t know if my book will get published, I am not even sure if I will be able to finish it in time, but I will give my all.

Finding a goal even on the path of death made her smile and overshadowed her pain. She asked me if I would like to read a few pages, “I will share my draft with you once I have finished a few pages, I will need feedback. I do not want it to be a sad story. I want it to be happy experiences and adventures.” She had found her happy ending and that did rub over me a little bit. “Of course, I would love to read it”, I smiled and said with a hint of calmness returning on my face.

edited by: Tirthi Kosambia

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