When I was little, I had different friends then. not the friends I have today but those from my locality.
One such friend was TC. We grew up in the same neighborhood and we were best of friends. Though she was a year junior to me, she got admitted in school a year before because of right hand refused to touch my left ear (it was a measure to admit kids to school those days), and I was stupid not to have known to try any trick.
Later I could catch up with her since I was better in studies than her but we always remained the best of friends throughout our childhood. Those days I used to be pretty good in studies so gradually left her behind and finally the day came when I had to go different school since ours had only up to the sixth standard. And as always, distance took away our closeness.
I had new friends by then and so did she. We hardly met since I was in boarding school and our meeting was frequented only to my monthly outings. Moreover those outings were only for a day which was mostly spent with family.
Years later, I found myself in RIM when she fell very ill. We were both grown up by then. The memory of our last meeting is still fresh in my mind. It was during one of my visits home when I spotted her outside her house taking in the winter sun. I went up to her and we talked for a couple of hours.
She looked so thin and pale. There was not an ounce of flesh on her entire body. My heart went out to her. I know I can’t blame her folks because they did everything in their power to get her treated which included taking her abroad for treatment. But I believe god had his own way of dealing with lives.
Well we talked about everything and nothing. I wished to stay longer but I had to report to RIM so I left her with her thoughts and came. Few hours later, my sister called me up and informed me that TC was no more.
It was like a blow to my face. Even to these days, I always think god wanted me to meet her one last time before he was done with her. It was as if she was waiting for me.
With my two friends I offered some butter lamps in Semtokha dzong for her but I couldn’t attend her funeral the next day. Somehow cremation ground always seemed so creepy for me but for the life of me, I’d always regret not being there for her funeral to bid her one final good bye. I doubt if I’d ever be able to forgive myself for that mistake.
Maybe she didn’t forgive me too because I always dream of her almost every night. In my dreams, I’d see few friends and later one face would always change to hers. And in dreams, I wouldn’t know she isn’t alive anymore.
Morning I’d wake up, remember the dream of the previous night and feel void and numb but not scared.