THE PENFRIEND

*Doorbell* Amelia opened the door to see the delivery boy with a bouquet and a card. She was surprised, it was not her birthday or any special day. She scribbled her signature on the iPhone which he gave to her. Amelia was curious to open the card to find out who the sender was, only to find a signature, which to her looked like a star. The mysterious admirer was however unknown. The bouquet was beautiful, Amelia always liked flowers, especially Red Roses. Did this person know she liked them? She found a vase and arranged the flowers, still lost in thoughts. “Who could it be?”

Amelia lost her parents while she was a child. She lived with her grandmother in Blackpool, a coastal town in England. She was an overly ambitious girl. Writing was her passion. She writes everything in her little diary since she was school going girl. Be it a moment of happiness or sorrow it was all jotted in it. She aspired to become a writer when she grew up. Amelia loved herself and found beauty in every little thing around her. She did not have many friends, but the ones she had, been precious to her soul. She believed in her dreams. Amelia engraved her favorite writer Paulo Coelho’s words in her heart. She knew the whole universe would conspire to help her achieve her dream.

Amelia was sitting at the study table scribbling in her notebook as usual. The card she received few days ago, was still on the table. She took it again and opened it. This person must be a calligrapher, she thought. Such a beautiful handwriting. The address label was stuck beneath the signature. It revealed a postcode from London. Suddenly this idea struck her mind, this person deserved a note of thanks. Amelia took a piece of paper and wrote a few words to express her gratitude for the beautiful flowers send to her. She read it again, made corrections until she felt satisfied. She neatly folded the paper and carefully put in the envelop and sealed it and wrote the address on it.

The next day Amelia went out to the Library, on the way she posted the envelope in the nearby post office. Amelia had so much to do that day. The paperwork to sort her university admission and her scholarship. She did not realize how quickly the day has passed. She desperately wanted this scholarship as this will help her complete her course easily without putting much financial burden on her. As she was coming out of the Library, she felt optimistic and one step nearer to the long way to her dream.

Few days later, on a bright morning in Spring, Amelia received a letter. When she opened the envelop, her pupils dilated. So, the person behind the mask is named Adam. As she read the letter, she wondered if this individual is a lonely soul, otherwise how he finds so much time to spare to write letters, at this age of social media. She found it more interesting, they both kept writing letters to each other. Their topics varied from ambitions to seasons, to nature to hobbies and to life. They could not wait to meet each other. 

Meanwhile, Amelia got admission in one of the reputed Colleges in London to pursue her degree in Creative Writing. She moved to the busy life of London, she felt she is going to get lost in the crowd. She was never used to such a life before. Amelia was overwhelmed in the first few weeks, then she started getting used to it. Amelia did not forget to let Adam know in her previous letter that she is moving to London. But it is been a month now, no letters or cards were received from Adam. She was worried, what happened to her pen-friend she thought.

Amelia wanted to find out. She took the train to Central London, to the address which she used to write all the letters to. She was keen to know what happened to her friend. As she walked to the building taking slow steps, her heart was thumbing, she could feel the anxiety and fear from deep within her soul. He is indeed a stranger to her, but she could not stop thinking of him. She knew he is a good soul, but how she was so sure, no one knew. The apartment was in the 8th floor of the building in front of her. As she reached the door, she took a deep breath, to make her calm, simultaneously her index finger pressed the doorbell. She was anxious, equally curious to see the masked man for the first time. 

To her surprise an elderly lady, in her 70s opened the door. She looked so graceful with her outstanding facial features. “Does Adam live here?” Amelia asked hesitantly. The old lady looked at Amelia and smiled. She welcomed Amelia into the living room as though she was expecting her visit. She said in a gentle voice, “So you are Amelia” After a pause she continued, “Yes, this is Adam’s home, however, he is not here right now. He is admitted in St. Thomas Hospital”

“Admitted in Hospital??” Amelia repeated as she was confused. Mrs. Johns was Adam’s paternal grandmother, once used to be a very efficient GP in one of the practices in London. She offered Amelia a drink and sat beside her on the couch. Adam has always been remarkably close to his grandmother that he shared everything with her. He also mentioned about his new pen-friend Amelia to her. He always talked highly of her. Probably the one relationship out of his family which he would like to cherish at his current situation. Mrs. Johns paused for a while and disclosed Adam’s diagnosis of cancer. He was a healthy adult until 2 months ago, when he was diagnosed of this fatal disease. She mentioned how himself and the whole family were in the state of denial in the first few days after they knew it. He was falling into depression. 

In order to bring him back, his family and doctors suggested him to divert his attention to something he would like to do. He enjoyed reading since he was a child. He happened to read Amelia’s blogs one day while randomly browsing on the internet. Adam developed an interest in her writing style and thus led his way to the writer. Amelia was astonished as she heard how this now friend of hers set his way to find this then unknown writer. 

Amelia was devastated to hear about the big word cancer. But she realized that he needed her support as a friend now, to help him get over it. She read about it before that during chemotherapy a person needs emotional support as it can be traumatic physically and mentally. She thought this is the right time to keep him engaged and spend time with him, so she could promote his mental well-being. As his grandmother said, he is commenced now with chemotherapy. “Could that be that he is not feeling well that he hasn’t written any letters these days?” Her heart ached thinking of him.

Adam is admitted in the Hematology ward. As Amelia walked into the ward, she was wondering what Adam’s first expression will be seeing her. She asked the ward clerk for Adam Johns’ room, in response she pointed to the end of the corridor on the right-hand side. Amelia gently opened the door, as she did not want to disturb him if he was sleeping. But he was immersed in reading, that he did not notice the slight movement in the room. He lifted his head to the gentle voice that called his name. His eyes lit as he saw Amelia. For few moments it was just silence. He broke the silence and said, “Amelia, I knew you would come.”. Saying this he extended his arms for a hug. Amelia was stunned to his response on seeing her, she felt as though they knew each other for a long time. They stayed in each other’s embrace for a while. He carved a picture of her in his soul through the letters he read. They did not seem to feel even the slightest discomfort of meeting for the first time.

Amelia was devastated by thought of his diagnosis. However, looking at Adam, Amelia could not believe that he was invaded by such a disease. He was calm and serene. If no one would say this to her, she would not even know. She tried to stay brave beside him. Even though she only knew him for a few months, this news broke her heart. Adam kept speaking to her all the while she was there, on every possible topic under the sun. She was sad within, to know how suffocated he might have felt being on his own, not being able to talk to somebody. She was fascinated watching him talk about every detail of every little thing he said to her. Amelia never knew a man could talk so much. 

Amelia grabbed hold of his right hand, which had various infusion lines attached to it, looked in his eyes and said, “Now that I am here, you won’t be on your own. I will come to see you every day. We are going to fight this together and get over this.” Adam knew she read his mind. He was overwhelmed, he wanted to say something, but this time he could not speak. He just held her hand tightly, and she understood. In Adam’s words he was walking through a dark tunnel on his own, with the little ray of hope further away from him. But now that he found his friend Amelia to walk beside, he could see the beam of light at the end of tunnel is much closer than he thought. 

Amelia took permission from the nurse on shift, to take him for a walk. Then covered his shoulder with a shawl, even though the sun shone with a mighty glow, it was still chilly outside. They walked hand in hand in the same pace, neither quick nor slow, through the purpose-built park beside the ward. But this time she was talking to him, and he was listening. Adam never felt so enchanted before, as now listening to Amelia. His spirit was uplifted with her presence. He only had one thought and one ambition this time. He promised in his heart, that he will fiercely face this battle, to defeat this Cancer, so he could be able to walk with her the rest of his life. With this thought his lips curled to a beautiful smile. Without knowing what is in his mind, she smiled back at him, as they walked back to the ward.

The time flew by, it was getting late for Amelia, to get back. She had to frame the rough draft of her first assignment and submit to her supervisor. She bid goodbye to Adam for now. He knew he had to wait till weekend to see her again. But he liked the fact that he had somebody to wait for. He felt that every cell in his body was empowered with strength to defeat the killer that invaded him. He slowly fell asleep to his world of dreams. While in the other side of the city, Amelia sat down to scribble in her notebook on her lovely day. The page was still blank, as this day was inscribed deep within her soul. No words came out of her. She closed her eyes, as she was still reliving the day in her heart. The fragrance of love lingered around. In her dream, she met him again. And together they walked to live their dream once again.

~ Chinchu Gibu

Published by ChinchuGibu

Writing is my passion, When I write, I feel God’s hand touching mine ..

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