Twelve Days (Fiction)

He has always been the mysterious type. He’ll come to school everyday like a normal kid, and in the next days, he’ll disappear like he never existed. It turns out that our teachers got informed of this peculiarity of his even before he enrolled to the university. While us, his classmates, were always in the dark of whatever that is happening to him.

Because of this, we got used to making special adjustments for him. Jotting down notes for him when he’s not there, photocopying documents, listing down homeworks, and gave him the easieast tasks. At first this was the case. But as days, weeks, and sometimes months go by without him, the class seemed to forget that he ever even existed. And then I was the only one left who took care of these “adjustments”.

There are days where he isn’t around and nobody seems to notice except me. There is something in him that I liked long before we ever got acquianted, or became friends. I don’t know. His smile? The way he talks? His sense of humour? Beats me. I don’t know why I liked him, but if I’m going to be honest to myself, I’ll swear that I really like him.

One day at psychology class (I can still remember our professor was teaching about classical conditioning), a group of rich-looking individuals interrupted the session with a two gentle knocks on the wooden door. A person in white doctor’s gown is leading the charge.

“Excuse me professor, may I have a word?” The person in white inquired.

He whispered something to the professor. It was very quick. Maybe just one, or two words at most. The professor nodded, and off the group went. What their exchange was about, the class had no idea.

It was not long until it dawned to us. Those words that the doctor — if he was a doctor — told our professor.

“Twelve days,” our professor paused.

The pause seemed like forever.

“Twelve days, starting tomorrow, (he mentioned my classmate’s name)”

He paused again. Like he doesn’t know how to proceed.

“He only got twelve days to live. Make sure you — “

The whole class gasped and erupted into a cacophony of dissonant blabberings. Our professor never stopped talking but his words got drowned by the noise. The room grew louder and louder, but not to me. My ears rang, slowly, at a very high pitch. Until it reached the peak where suddenly, everything went black. I don’t know how many minutes have passed. I just stared into nothingness to what seemed like forever.

And then, the bell rang.

Everybody got up. My classmates, my professor, everyone. Then I was left alone.

The next day, everything felt like it was only a bad dream. I’m already late for school and so did everything as fast as I could. I took a quick shower, ate breakfast, and slip into whatever’s available; blue ripped jeans and light blue shirt.

When I got to the classroom, I knocked on the door and greeted my professor a good morning. He beamed and told me to come in. There’s not lecture yet, luckily, but something was terribly off.

Everybody seems to be in high spirits. I scanned the whole room and to my surprise there’s a congregation in one corner.

He’s there!

I was stunned. I hurried and rushed past through the throngs of people. He’s there. Everybody gathering around him is listening intently. He’s telling stories, making stupid jokes, and proudly displaying his T-shirt.

On his T-shirt, the print says:

Remembe12 me

With a new wave of people coming from behind, he announced, “Ah, listen everyone. Do you get what my shirt means?”

I just stared. Dumbfounded at this spectacle before me. The newcomers shook their heads.

“Well, as you know, with the dramatic announcement of our psychology professor yesterday, I only got twelve days to live.”

A wave of dread crept into everyone.

“And as you can see,“ he continued, like nothing is amiss, ”if you put together 1 and 2 in ‘Remembe12 me’, it looks like a capital letter ‘R’. See it, see it?”

Everybody looked amused. They broke into a soft unison of amazement and to a loud applause.

I cannot fathom what’s so funny about his last 12 days!

He noticed my expression and reassured me.

“Hey, (he called my name), why the long face? Like Jack London once said, ‘I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy permanent planet.’

Why frown, friend?” He beamed, “I want to leave this planet with a bang, and nothing is going to stop me.

Tomorrow, I’m going to wear something that has 11 in it. Like a countdown,” he paused, and smiled to everybody, “I’m going to do this until my last day on this planet.”

Everyone cheered, laughed, and some frowned. At that moment, I was awestruck, confused, and sad. Every emotion is like a bubble bursting here and there.

He’s so awesome!
How can he be so calm!
How can he hide his condition! How can he not tell me!?
Why are you leaving me! Please don’t leave!

Our professor cleared his throat.

“I’m going to start the class in a moment, back to your seats, all of you.”

That day, I decided to confess my feelings for him in the next morning. I don’t care how he feels about me, but I will tell him how I feel. I don’t care if he rejects me. I want to make him happy.

The next day, we all waited for him to come. Everyone is eager for his number 11 shirt. 11 days to live. What could be the pun that he is going to come up with this time? But that day, he never came.

He died the night before. Alone, in his room, reading a book. What book is he reading, I had no idea. I wish I could see him smile one last time. I wish I could see the twinkle in his eyes. I wish I could see him laugh. I wish I could read the last book he was reading. What were his last thoughts? Was he happy? Did I cross his mind?

But it’s all too late now. I know that’s not going to happen anymore.

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