The 'C' Word

December 15, 2011
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Cancer!? I stood there dumbstruck at what I had just heard. Did he just say cancer?! Everything went black! For a minute I felt dizzy. And while I recaptured what had just happened – I was sitting at the edge of my bed with helpless tears streaming down my face.
Hadn’t he told me everything was going to be alright? Hadn’t he promised me years of what has yet to come? Didn’t he assure he was going to be there every step of my life, holding my hand through everything I do? It’s not fair! How could this happen?
He is just seventeen for god’s sake! Not even legit yet! A few days ago he had an entire lifetime in front of him. We had planned a whole life together. He had dreamt so many dreams. And they are all gone? Just like that? No! That’s not the way this is supposed to go! To him – there’s no going back and there’s no future. Why? Of all the people in the world this just had to happen to him? How could the world be so harsh?
I had so many interrogations. So many things I wanted to know – but, no one to answer them. I was infuriated, annoyed, distressed, petrified and furious at the world! I tried to scream but no sound came out as I opened my mouth. I just wanted to close my eyes and pretend that this is just dream – and that everything was going to be alright when I open my eyes.
He is my best friend, my savior; my hero. He has been there for me through thick and thin. I feel safe, protected, and happy when I am near him; he gives me strength and hope, makes me believe in myself. He makes me see all that I’m made of, and all that I have. I love him for who he is, and what he has made me. I feel wretched at the thought of not having him around. I should be so lost without him.
He was going to miss everything; my life, us, our dreams. My future was planned based on us – based on him. He is supposed to be there witnessing our dreams come true. We were supposed to look back on the days we spent goofing off, all the fun we had together, the messes we had made, the things we got in trouble for – and throw our heads back and laugh – years from now, remembering how stupid and ridiculously happy we are now.
Words fail to express how much I would miss him. We had done everything together – from studies, to mischief and good deeds. After all it is going to be very hard to have a happily ever after all by myself.
With these thoughts running through my mind - I stood there, helpless to do anything. I had just met him a while ago; he looked so weak, yet very handsome. His deep brown eyes flowing with tears while they gazed deeply into mine told me that he had desperately wanted to say something. However, at the moment it seemed that no words could express what we felt. There is so much left to say and do – yet, so little time.
I tried to hang up the phone after I told him that I needed sometime alone. I couldn’t let him see how I felt about this; this entire thing is so bizarre that I feel like I could break down any minute. How would he feel if he saw me like this? Wouldn’t he blame himself? Of Couse he would! That’s how he is. As I sat on the sofa fighting back my tears, I heard the muffled sound of someone coughing. I hurriedly asked him what was; I could scarcely hear him coughing badly. I had no means of helping him – he was on the verge of death and the best I could do was staying on the phone; silently praying, while telling him it was all going to be okay when I knew it wasn’t. The sounds I heard then still remain in my memory; like a monster growling in a bad nightmare I have when I’m still awake. It plays over and over again from time to time
Blood, all he could say was ‘blood’. Although I couldn’t see it, I felt as if the smell had percolated the atmosphere, for a moment; it was as if I could see it, I could discriminate it even with my eyes closed. It even felt like I could taste it inside me. I had no idea how to react. Finally when I calmed down and closed my eyes in silent prayer; I could hear his voice crying and pleading, hoping for a better way.
After I calmed him down, I helped him calm down so that it would hurt less. We did our best to follow our daily routine: joke around, maybe even laugh a bit. Nothing helped. We both knew that at one point, we had to say goodbye – for better or for worse, and it was killing us inside. It is horrifying to know that the day was drawing closer as the clock ticked. I barely managed to tell him I didn’t want him to go. It hurt so much to hear him cry. He assured me that I was going be alright – and told me he loved me. His name is Mohamed Jinan Hathim, and he is drowning on red cancer inside and out.
We imagined us sitting together, hand in hand, cheek to cheek, for what felt like a lifetime, however that wasn’t nearly enough. It was so hard to imagine what my life would be like without him by my side. I know that all of us, we have an expiration date – yet, that doesn’t stop us from hoping that the date is somewhere far ahead in our futures. But to him, however, the date is today – it’s right now. Even though his heart is so willing to take chances, to live his dreams – his body is opposing it. It is obvious that as perfect as he is; he has regrets, things he would like to take back, and things he would change if he could – everyone does, and that is not a bad thing. The difference between us and him is that while we have to live with the residue of our choices; we still have the opportunity to say we are sorry, to grow up to be a better person. But to him – there isn’t much time left. It’s nearly not enough to face the person his choices have made him; whether good or bad – to really get to live his life, to apologize or to better himself. Be that as it may; he still considers him to be the luckiest man alive. He has never taken what he has for granted. I am truly proud to be by his side, to have known him at all.

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