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"Never let a memory become stronger than a dream"
Would this day ever become easier for me? As I tried to comprehend what was being said to me—by someone whom I didn’t even recollect, whose name escapes me at the moment, but who delivered me the saddest news, a grief beyond one's imagination,—the answer would be a resounded no. You, my friend, are no more. I know people always say it, that time heals all wounds, only wait and see... Those words were not a comfort to me as I sat myself down that afternoon. I sat down on the overstuffed chair that I like so much and let it overtake me, the chair swallowing me up. I wanted to be swallowed up and never seen or heard from again. I remember looking straight away and staring into space as people moved around me. Did they even know I was there? I didn’t care at that moment—life as I knew it would forever change. I know, to some that might be an overdramatic statement, but it’s how I felt and still do, to some extent, and probably always will.
Life is strange: we move around minding our own business, like meadow bees, never expecting anything to change greatly; and then, when a big change comes around, we just don’t know how to react. Eventually everyone gets used to change, but for that quintessential moment we just want to say, piss off, piss off the change, I hate change! My friend was taken away and that was the ultimate change, ultimate betrayal. Oh how life betrayed me!
I don’t recall how long I sat there like an automaton, but I remember that before I was swallowed by the overstuffed chair there was lots of sunshine coming in from the windows, and now I saw the shadows moving in like ghosts creeping along the walls and coming towards my shoes. So many shadows creeping ever so slowly but seemingly with so much purpose.
For some reason I have always hated shadows, even as a child they scared me and I always disliked the late afternoon, that interzone between light and darkness, when the shadows would come out, as if to say, “ready or not, we are the end of your beautiful sunny day”. Someone, long time ago, told me about "shadow people", shadows that take the form of something humanlike. I think, I see them, I feel them, and it always sends shivers down my spine so much so that I try to avoid these dusk shadows. And now, as I sat in the overstuffed chair, the shadows were coming for me and I didn’t even have the resolve to move an inch. I just sat and stared.
For some reason, I tried really hard to recall what you looked like, and for a few panicked moments, I couldn’t recall it at all. I knew you for so long and yet I could not visualize you now in my mind. That's strange. I remembered your dark clothes and a blue pen always in your hand but your face, your voice eluded me. Pen-pal... Pen-club... Penny. The relief flooded over me when I remembered with a shudder, a tremble, a tremor. I get moments like that when I try to recall my father when I was a child. I only remember what he looked like as an old man, and I would never want my memory to do the same to you, my friend.
The memory of our first meeting came to me as comforting as a soft warm blanket. How you came up to me and said your name and said hello with an exaggerated wave. We were instantly connected as friends, as intertwined as any two people could possibly be from that moment on. Now the news of your departure from this world hits me like a massive punch to the stomach.
Now thoughts of wakes and funerals fills my head as I try to imagine going forward without being able to share anything with you again. I'm so fortunate to have my memories that will be with me all the days of my life...I hate goodbyes so I will make it a simple one. I wave to you with an exaggerated wave and bid you farewell.
"You know a friend is found when you are happy to see them. You know love is found when it hurts to leave them."