When once there were two.
“She’s in a coma! you have to come! We’ve been trying to find you!”
Confused. I didn’t know what she was talking about. “Huh? Whaa….a coma? How? Where is she?“.
Her sister has never called me. Not any of her seven siblings has ever called me. There was no reason to. With both of us being the youngest by at least a decade, they were there to look after us. And despite being close childhood friends and our families being close, I never had that kind of relationship with her sisters or brother. Our friendship was all about us.
I didn’t know that this would be our last selfie together
Tears sat above my cheeks bones, welling. My lunch buddy, Lily returned from the restroom, I took a deep breath attempting to coherently explain the devastating call I had just received.
As we had already finished lunch, Lily insisted on taking care of the bill and that I leave immediately for the hospital. Fortunately, the restaurant was in Northbridge, only five minutes away from the hospital.
Still living through the pandemic with social distancing restrictions, my concern was, would the hospital staff allow me to see her? Would they let me in? Her husband reassured me over the phone they would. We were exempted. Special circumstances.
The drive was long. Or at least it seemed long.
She was in a COMA !. I still couldn’t believe it.
For the next 3 days I was by her side in ICU. Her family and close friends came and went, and some stayed for as long as they could throughout the day and night.
We cried on each others shoulders, we held each other tightly, we consoled and comforted each other. We hoped and prayed for a miracle. A sign. A sign of life.
I held her hand, her skin smooth, soft and warm like a new born baby. Innocent and pure. I tenderly whispered her name, hoping my voice would wake her from her rest. Because to me she was only resting.
She was never one to take a break or stop to be still. She was always busy working and doing things for others selflessly. And now it was time for her to rest.
An array of colourful memories filled my mind. Hearing our five year old voices laughing whilst sipping cups of pretend tea, playing masak-masak (Malay reference to the games of make-believe that little children like to play) on my parents’ burnt sienna carpet in the lounge warmed my heart and comforted me while I sat silently beside her.
We were going to get old together. That was the unspoken plan.
We were life long friends. Our families lives were intertwined long before we were born. She was older by less than a month. We were both the youngest in our respective families. Our siblings went to school together my dad was their primary school teacher.
We were close. We had sleep overs. We cooked together. She made clothes for the dolls we played with. I never learnt to sew like she did. We looked similar as children. Our parents, mainly her dad, would get us mixed up. Mistaking me for her and wondering why I was standing around being lazy and not helping with the chores. My friend was hard working from a young age and was never afraid of hard work. Unlike me who just liked to play.
We went clubbing together, bowling with friends, shared secrets and boyfriend troubles.
Even though we weren’t in touch much in our later years, we were still close. Our adult life took over. Having children, our own respective businesses and living more than 30 minutes in the opposite direction, me being north and her being south contributed to our lack of connection and catch ups. But she was one of those friends who no matter how long it’s been, you can easily pick up where you left off. You know the kind of friends I mean.
I stood in the middle of my lounge room, lost in disbelief and anguish. My head drooped, my face and shoulders slumped, I uttered “she’s not coming back is she?” He looked at me with sadness in his eyes , I knew he felt my pain. He quietly shook his head. I took a deep breath, my eyes dropped to see the speckles of carpet dust of nothingness. I had never felt so much deep sadness and sorrow.
It was different when my dad passed. I had time. Time emotionally prepare. He was in 94th year and his kidneys were failing. I knew that his passing would be imminent. We all did.
Her’s was sudden. An accident. A stupid accident.
She slipped on the neighbour’s wet fake lawn getting her dog. Still conscious and coherent she continued to make work calls. After some time had passed, she felt a little giddy requesting a family member to call the ambulance. Believing it was something minor she rode in the ambulance unaccompanied by any family member, not knowing that during this time she would slip into unconsciousness.
A stupid freak accident!
Once there were two and now there is one.
Lost. Alone. Wondering.
I lost a part of me.