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Letter for You

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

 

Good afternoon.

It’s been ten years since the last time we met. I wonder how you would be doing if you were still here, you know. Would you be teaching young, inquisitive schoolkids like you used to?  Would you introduce your son to them? How about your marriage life, I wonder? I once peeked at your husband’s Facebook profile, and it seems he still hasn’t remarried yet, in respect for you. And … would you still stay here, armed with your beaming smile and warm, friendly demeanor?

Ten years is a long time, don’t you think? A person who has just parted from their beloved ones will think that a week is a long time. Then a month. Then a year. Of course, everything will just blur after that. Yet, the memories of you—jumbled, fractured, disjointed—will always stay within me; even Time cannot bury all traces of you.

Let me tell you a secret: I used to think of you as my sister. How could I not? You were always there for me, listening to my chatters, indulging my curiosity, cheerfully talking to me as if I were your own little sister. Well, the fact that you were a year younger than my biological sister probably helps, too. 

Do you know why you matter so much to me? You were the first homeroom teacher who was patient with me, never turning me away. You were the first teacher to fully accept and understand me, even though I only had few friends. You were the youngest teacher back then, and your presence radiated warmth and safety and you felt like someone I could confide in—

And you found me when I was huddled on the corner of the highest floor after running away from class. I can still remember your relieved smile and continuous whispers of thank God you’re okay, safe, unharmed….

Thank God everything’s alright.

Until you were hospitalized due to bone cancer.

I still held onto hope that you would survive the whole ordeal. And I was proven right. Of course, you did! Imagine my joy when I heard that you had been married and had a son! A teeny tiny baby, just as precious as you are. You showed him to us with joy flooded in your eyes and a warm smile, never minding the fact that your body wasn’t whole like it used to be.

Your warm smile still touches my heart even now.

It was the last time I met you before you left, succumbing to those parasitic cells infecting your body.

I was about to enter the classroom when a classmate told me that you were gone. Colors seemed to wash away, swept by the wind as my heart immediately hollowed itself. There was only shock, as I couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t real, right? I mean, I just met you several months ago! It wasn’t real, it wasn’t real, no, it wasn’t…

Tell me it’s not real….

Bad moments after bad moments were piled up in my plate at that time, y’know? My math teacher yelled at me to get out after I said something “rude”, it was close to national exam, I was ostracized by my schoolmates, and now this? Ye God, please tell me it’s just a series of nightmare…

But it wasn’t a nightmare. It was real.

Do you know that memories of you still pop up occasionally? I wonder if anyone notices that my train of thoughts halts when I see or hear the word “cancer”? Does anyone discover that I always perk up when someone mentions your hometown—your first and final home? Will someone find out that I always frown slightly whenever a student exclaims how they love their teacher, and how it reminds me of you?

Oh, lastly … I’m sorry for everything. I know I mean nothing to you. Perhaps I was just another ordinary student that you had taught. Worse, maybe I bothered you too much back then, for I often got into conflicts and cried like a spoiled baby. I contributed nothing positive to your life, so who the heck I am to grieve over you? Grief is a privilege I don’t deserve. 

Yet I still mourned. And will do until the sands of time erases my existence.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

 

Good afternoon.

It’s been ten years since the last time we met. I wonder how you would be doing if you were still here, you know. Would you be teaching young, inquisitive schoolkids like you used to?  Would you introduce your son to them? How about your marriage life, I wonder? I once peeked at your husband’s Facebook profile, and it seems he still hasn’t remarried yet, in respect for you. And … would you still stay here, armed with your beaming smile and warm, friendly demeanor?

Ten years is a long time, don’t you think? A person who has just parted from their beloved ones will think that a week is a long time. Then a month. Then a year. Of course, everything will just blur after that. Yet, the memories of you—jumbled, fractured, disjointed—will always stay within me; even Time cannot bury all traces of you.

Let me tell you a secret: I used to think of you as my sister. How could I not? You were always there for me, listening to my chatters, indulging my curiosity, cheerfully talking to me as if I were your own little sister. Well, the fact that you were a year younger than my biological sister probably helps, too. 

Do you know why you matter so much to me? You were the first homeroom teacher who was patient with me, never turning me away. You were the first teacher to fully accept and understand me, even though I only had few friends. You were the youngest teacher back then, and your presence radiated warmth and safety and you felt like someone I could confide in—

And you found me when I was huddled on the corner of the highest floor after running away from class. I can still remember your relieved smile and continuous whispers of thank God you’re okay, safe, unharmed….

Thank God everything’s alright.

Until you were hospitalized due to bone cancer.

I still held onto hope that you would survive the whole ordeal. And I was proven right. Of course, you did! Imagine my joy when I heard that you had been married and had a son! A teeny tiny baby, just as precious as you are. You showed him to us with joy flooded in your eyes and a warm smile, never minding the fact that your body wasn’t whole like it used to be.

Your warm smile still touches my heart even now.

It was the last time I met you before you left, succumbing to those parasitic cells infecting your body.

I was about to enter the classroom when a classmate told me that you were gone. Colors seemed to wash away, swept by the wind as my heart immediately hollowed itself. There was only shock, as I couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t real, right? I mean, I just met you several months ago! It wasn’t real, it wasn’t real, no, it wasn’t…

Tell me it’s not real….

Bad moments after bad moments were piled up in my plate at that time, y’know? My math teacher yelled at me to get out after I said something “rude”, it was close to national exam, I was ostracized by my schoolmates, and now this? Ye God, please tell me it’s just a series of nightmare…

But it wasn’t a nightmare. It was real.

Do you know that memories of you still pop up occasionally? I wonder if anyone notices that my train of thoughts halts when I see or hear the word “cancer”? Does anyone discover that I always perk up when someone mentions your hometown—your first and final home? Will someone find out that I always frown slightly whenever a student exclaims how they love their teacher, and how it reminds me of you?

Oh, lastly … I’m sorry for everything. I know I mean nothing to you. Perhaps I was just another ordinary student that you had taught. Worse, maybe I bothered you too much back then, for I often got into conflicts and cried like a spoiled baby. I contributed nothing positive to your life, so who the heck I am to grieve over you? Grief is a privilege I don’t deserve. 

Yet I still mourned. And will do until the sands of time erases my existence.

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