Saturday, December 29, 2007

Tell her

The smell inside a hospital is always intolerable, and more so when one doesn't knows why he is actually there. I was having supper when my cell-phone rang. Cell phones must have a feature of not receiving calls during dinner.
"May I speak to Mr.Jim?" a thin female voice asked. It was an anxious voice.
"Mr. Jim, can you please come to the 5th avenue hospital. It may sound insane but I have got no reason for which you should come. I am just asked to call you here urgently." now the tension grew in her voice, she sounded like an employee, but an inexperienced one.
"But" I tried to argue.
"It's urgent. So please come." it was a desperate voice now.
"Is it concerned with any of my realtives or my parents."
"Sir, I told you. I don't know the reason. I am just asked to call you as soon as possible." She hung up. I think she knew that I would obviously come.

Now sitting here in the lobby of the hospital, I am utterly confused.
"Are you Mr.Jim?" that same thin voice asked from my back. I turned around and saw the destroyer of my supper. She was a nurse in her mid-20s.
"Now I know the reason, so can you please come after me" she said. Now I was totally confused. I started walking behind her, but still a dread swept through my head.
This time I didn't ask for the reason but just walked behind her. She turned to the coma chamber of the hospital. The hospital wasn't crowded at that time.
In the coma chamber hall, she pointed towards room no.7.
"You won't come."
She shook her head.
"So I should go alone"
She nodded.
I walked slowly as if I was going to see some type of a monster in that room.
I pushed the door staring at the white floor, and when I looked up I saw a man of my same age but I wasn't able to recognise him.
He was looking really weak as if nearing his death, his bones of face were evident, and there was very little flesh remaining on his face.
I had seen him somewhere.
"I knew you would come, Jim. You always trust other people's words and come to help." he was speaking with a effort, but I knew this voice.
I knew this voice very well. I wasn't able to beleive Ian in such a pitiable condition. That handsome shaven face, most logical person of our management training, that lean and athletic body. I met him two years before. We were good friends but never great friends.
But I still remember that day when only I stood up for him against a very rich bully in our second year. The bully threatened to thrash him, and he was in process to do that in front of the students, when I came to his rescue. Ian was strong at that but still the bully had much more flesh in his arms. I knew it would be humilating for him to get beaten in front of all the students. I felt that for him, and saved him from a beating that day. I just supported him by distracting the bully.
I just remember a sentence he said to me that day "A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out." It wasn't a big deal for me to help him, but only the small things that make a big deal.
"What has happened to you Ian, can't beleive you are in such a bad condition. At first I wasn't able to recognize you man!" I said in a small voice. I was just terrified to see him in such a condition, what can possibly happen to this tall hunk?
"Cancer" that voice was strong but horrifying, I had only heard that voice when my family doctor diagnosed my brother of severe mental disability. It had a touch of courage.
"What?" nothing more than that came from my mouth, i was just not able to speak for a few seconds. After a few seconds he broke the silence.
"Hey don't be so silent, you know I hate silence. If you will react so silently, how will she react." he told me, but now why did he have to talk about Kate, I know he loved her like anything. For him Kate was the ultimate aim. Kate was a fellow student in our management course. She was pretty and the most kind hearted person I ever met. I never really talked to her like a friend, but it was like that with me with most of the female fellows.
"Who Kate?" I asked even when I knew.
"Yes, I called you here so that I can tell you something which you will tell her after I die. I have not much time left and not much energy also. The chemotherapy has drained me of my life." he said again in that terrying and strong voice.
"Don't say that Ian, you are the liveliest person I have ever seen." I retorted.
"But now this cancer is draining me of life. We are lively till we beleive. Life plays games with us and we sometimes have to react strongly to the life's moves in the game." he told me in a familiar teacher voice. He is a teacher, Ian is.
"Leave it, what do you want me to tell Kate?" I really wanted to know this.
"Tell her that it was I who always kept chocolates at her desk in our university." I knew Kate just loved chocolates.
"Tell her it was I who sent those mysterious notes of Trans-cycle management in our first year." now those notes were a decidor for most of our grades.
"Tell her It was me who always wrote poems for her and kept them in her duffel bag."
"Tell her it was me who gifted her that notebook in which I wrote what I felt about her." I still remember Ian writing that notebook with different pens. But when he kept that notebook in Kate's bag, he didn't write his name.
"Tell her that I always dream of her when I sleep." he choked when he said this, he started again.
"Tell her it was me who fought with those bullies for her." Ian broke fingers in that fight, so that Kate could live in peace.
"Tell her that I lost the speech competition intentionally only to see her smiling." that day was mysterious because even after losing the speech competition Ian was very happy. Now I know why.
"Tell her that I cried the whole night after we passed out from the management course."
"Tell her that everytime she smiled, I lived a life."
"Tell her that I like it when she makes that confusing face. I just love that expression of her." his voice was deteorating, but I didn't stop him from saying what he wanted to say all these years.
"Tell her that it was I who explained her parents of allowing her to work in the Rockies' Department Store." her parents were against her of joining such a bad occupation but Kate wanted some experience.
"Tell her she is the most pretty girl in this world, and that it was I who sent her the cosmetic products which she liked so much."
"Tell her that I sent her the romantic novels which she liked so much."
"Tell her it was me who lent a kidney to his brother, because I wasn't able to see her so sad and depressed."
"What the hell, you lent Whitley your kidney. Ian do you know that a single kidney is one of the most key-factors of cancer." I said after a long time, well I shouted in reality. But how can he risk his life.
"Tell her that the last word of my life was" his voice trailed.
"First answer me Ian, how can you risk your life? How can you?" i was trembling.
"Kate..." he stopped and his life ended. I shook my body to close his eyes, then I realised that I had been standing during the whole time we talked. He died, Ian Strieber died that January night. I just wasn't able to take it through my throat. But I wasn't crying for him, I don't know but I felt like laughing out loud. Yeah it was true grief, I loved Ian for that moment the greatest. I had heard many times 'Love kills' but now understood it somehow. For her brother, he died. For the sake of dying, he died. For love, he died...

Next day I called Kate and asked her for a drink in Broncho's Cafe. I didn't tell her about the death of Ian, but I knew what Ian wanted me to tell her.
"So after a long time we are meeting." she came from behind where I was sitting. She looked as if she had used one of the cosmetic sets Ian gifted her. She was pretty. And her eyes were the best.
"So anything special or something else." she was always straight forward.
"I just want to tell you something. Ian loved you and he died last night. If you don't beleive me just read this page in which it's written what he never wanted you to know." I choked as I finished the last sentence, it was the first time after Ian's death that tears flowed on my face. I looked towards Kate. She took the page and stood up, she didn't even say bye. She was crying, I saw that. I never saw or heard from her after that day.
Even after so many years I still wonder why did Ian choose me to tell everything to Kate. But then it's the small things that make a big deal.

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