30 January 2002
I woke up with a fit of cough, staining the bedsheet with crimson. I barely even reached the washroom before I threw up. I was then swept with a wave of dizziness and somehow managed to get a hold of myself. I finished up my morning chores and shakily walked to the bed bearing all the pain all over the body with a fresh wave of weakness. I woke up Rihan who slept without a care in the world.
This six-year-old son of mine, a brilliant mastermind! I love him like no one else in the world. Yes, more than Rhea too… I still have no clue how you could leave behind your son and move away to Brisbane with that bastard you worked with.
Hell with here, I don’t want to think about her now. Her departure left me emotionally drained out… and I don’t have the energy to go through all the mental drama again. After all, I’ve got to be strong for Rihan.
I got him ready for school and packed his favorite sandwich for school. He got into his bus and left for school where he can have the best moments of the day! He was so excited when I told him that we’d watch the meteor shower tonight!
I then wore my best suit (the only one left, the one I wore for my wedding) for the job interview I had. No one seemed to need an engineer in agricultural sciences in this part of the world… and I don’t have enough money to move to a different place too. Weird how she got off with the alimony and draining my accounts. And, now I can’t risk anything with Rihan entering the phase in school where he learns the most!
I wanted to pursue my passion and my passion was what caused my fall. I can barely pay for Rihan’s school fee, got another reminder from the school now and I have one meal a day to provide all I can for Rihan to have the best life he could dream of. I hate to see myself fail as a man who can’t even provide for his tiny micro family. I guess only god that could help me out now, but he seems quite focused on helping Rhea out…
It wasn’t a surprise that I as rejected in the interview, again. It does hurt even when we expect the worst to happen and I never understood what wrong I had done!
I walked from the office to the hospital. As a past time, I coughed again, the fifteenth fit today! I’m nearly out of all my savings or what’s left post the monthly cash I need to pay for Rhea’s alimony It was cold, almost freezing. The forecast said this week would witness the first snowfall this winter and all I had now was a suit on my back that did nothing about the cold. Maybe even god seemed to have a vendetta against me!
I reached the hospital where I collected the report of my biopsy which the doctor forced me to undergo. It was a Saturday and I decided to check the report in the silence of home and visit the doctor on Monday and made up my appointment for Monday.
I walked home under the cloudy skies and reached home in time, just before Rihan came back from his creche. I cooked dinner for us.
I helped Rihan with his homework and his dream Mural with oil pastels on the wall of our bedroom.
We then had our dinner and Rihan pulled me to the terrace to see the meteor shower, but it still was cloudy. I had another fit of a cough and I tried to hide the blood from him with a handkerchief. We waited for as long as we could. We sang while we waited and played chess under the cloudy skies and after a while he felt sleepy and I put him to sleep and admired his small innocent face and those chubby little fist holding his favorite Winnie the Pooh.
I kissed him a good night and picked up my report and went to the terrace to read it. The skies seemed to have cleared a bit. I stared at the report. I read it, re-read it. I’m diagnosed with Leukemia.
It was a shock. A spouse less, jobless, peace-less man now suffers a disease which would kill him eventually. This piece of paper was his death warrant.
I sat down and looked up at the skies and wept. Eventually the clouds parted and there it was, the meteor shower Rihan was waiting for. That’s when it hit me! This was a blessing!
I smiled, I coughed, I spat out blood and yet I smiled. I laughed! Laughed so hard in such a long time. This was the best thing that can have happened to me all this while. The neighbours might have thought I’m insane
I am now eligible for a medical grant for the treatment from the government! I can now officially be listed as a liability to raise a child and I’ll have to fill out forms mentioning that he be sent over to my parents where he can be raised the way he deserves.
I would no longer be a hindrance to his magnanimous dreams where he’s a spaceman, a rockstar, a scientist, or himself!
I could save up money from my government sanction and use it for Rihan. For all I know, putting a death sentence to a dying man is the best I can dream of. Just end my misery before time.
I know this isn’t the perfect plan and I’ll be mature tomorrow, but today, I can finally sleep in peace with a sense of satisfaction!
Thank god! I’ve got cancer!!
I looked at the sky full of stars ( hidden behind clouds) and saw god smiling down at me. “Thank you”, I said to the never ending space.
But Rihan, I feel so bad that I can’t be with you for as long as I could wish to. And I won’t be able to see you grow up into the man you wish to be!
I know this isn’t the best of plans, but for now, this is the only way I can be sure that you could get what you can dream of.
PS: I hope one day you know what your dad went through in these times and forgive me for what I’ve done or at least come to terms that whatever I did or will do, is all for you!
This was a piece I’d written long back and it felt great revisiting this!
Cover pic credits : flickr.com