Normally, I would wake up at the precise moment when the first golden ray of sunshine sprayed across my face during sunrise. I was dismal and surprised (I failed to discern which feeling is stronger) when I didn’t this morning. In fact, I felt more lethargic than usual. Is this a sign from God to tell me that my life is about to be taken away? A symptom to show my illness is deteriorating drastically from bad to worse?
For the first time after the day I was diagnosed with leukemia, I actually forced myself to look my reflection in the mirror. Maybe it’s because I was afraid to see what I wish not to see all these while. I did not want to see myself in a frail state, to be consciously reminded every single day that I was a sick patient. I did not want to constantly read the pathetic helplessness in my eyes and end up feeling sorry for myself. I yearned to be like everyone else and to be treated like one.
My image in the mirror could be pictured as these: bleached beige skin, thin physique and tired eyes. Little did I know that I have changed this much. I stroked my used-to-be pink cheeks, missing the days when they flush in scarlet whenever Dad tickles my belly. I was a merry, bouncy three-year-old back then, way before Dad died. How I miss Dad. I miss the simple, quiet moment when Dad and I were alone in the living room on late evenings; Dad sitting on the couch with his eyes fixed on the newspapers in his hands while I would be watching the sky darkens as the sun sets slowly between the two skyscrapers. It was a stupendous view from the transparent glass door which opens to the balcony. Dad and I did not talk, we just let time passed as it should and enjoyed each other’s silent company. Somehow, the presence of Dad seemed comforting and just right at place. We never had heart to heart conversations nor the typical ‘father and daughter’ mutual interaction. Dad was the phlegmatic type. I was like my Mum according to my Dad. He told me that if he were to pick two words to describe my character, they would be ‘radiant’ and ‘vibrant’.
Dad was gone and I would too. Soon. Dad, wait for me. I promise I will be brave.
Today, I was ‘hospitalized’ in my bedroom. Miss Mary, the social worker, found me lying motionlessly the bathroom floor. I must have fainted. After I regained consciousness, I saw Dr. Dre standing by my bedside with a trace of worry that he suffered to stifle. Trying to minimize the Dr. Dre’s pain, I wore a smile to and reached out for Dr. Dre’s hand. I said, “Doctor, I’m fine. Look at me. It’s a miracle that I’m able to live this long. You never gave up on me, and so did I.” I knew my end was near and approaching close to the deadline.
Dr. Dre nodded and tried hard to repress the tears flowing from his watering eyes. He rubbed my hand gently and in a compassionate manner, he spoke,
“Yes, Sue Yin. It has been a rough battle. We fought. Most importantly, we did not give up.”
“How many days left, Doctor? Please, be honest with me.” Because he knew me too well close to any loving father a child would dream of having, he answered,
“It’s just an approximation, Sue Yin. Be optimistic.”
The first person who came across my mind was Julian, after the talk with Dr.Dre. Due to my weak body, I had to stay indoors the whole day. I missed my regular appointment with Julian in the park.
Is he waiting for me in the park, as always?
Ah, Julian… letting go of Julian is the toughest. The past five days had been incredible with Julian. How would he react after he discovers that I was already on the staircase to heaven?
No, I must not be selfish. He deserves to know even if it hurts him. It feels irresponsible to hide my disease from his knowledge, and also, I couldn’t deceive the part of my soul that wants him to know about it.
I confess. Julian, you are one of the people whom irrevocably owns a special place in my heart.