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Monday, 30 December 2013

My Neighbor

One month ago, she stood at the threshold, out side my door, calling out my name. I was busy with my guests who were about to leave. I asked her to wait but she started to cry, softly at first but then a loud shrill noise. I was distracted, so were my guests. They waved quick goodbyes and asked me to attend to her. I turned to her and asked her what the matter was. She continued to cry in louder decibels, clinging to me, wetting my neck. I took her hand and led her to the room. She sat next to me, closer, and whispered, "I am dying" Her head shiny, exposing her fair skin, was covered with stained towel, she covered her mouth with flap. 

"Look," she said, "I have lost all my hair, I got operated but my head pains too much"

I wished I could help her but pain is the cross that we must carry alone. 

"Don't worry, you will be fine" I consoled. 

I fumbled for words. How do you converse with people who only need moral support? I sat there silently listening to her. she spoke softly, her lips concealed behind the flap. I strained to hear. I wish I understood what she was sharing. I followed the movement of her gestures but could not decode its meaning.

I have known her as a very vibrant lady. she had strong opinions on every issue. Many times she would stand outside my door and rant for hours. I have burnt my food on stove, spilled the milk cause I waited for her to pause. Many of her stories were repeat, told for umpteen times.

Bad health can change you. 

She stood up, walked across the room, stared at me listlessly, came back and sat down again, closer to me. 

"I am afraid, please help me." she whispered

Next day, she stood outside my door again. 

"I am going to the hospital but only for a day. I will be back soon," she said.

Today I learnt that she is never coming back.

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