okay here goes. this is a story i wrote and drew in late 2012, in a transition phase of my life when i needed to get a lot of things off my chest. this story was the outlet for lots of personal issues i had to deal with and as a result is a bit messy and raw, but still very close to my heart. i’ve grown a lot since as a person especially in regards to interpersonal relationships. but i still know what it feels like.
in technical terms, it’s unfinished, background inks and screentones are missing, and the ending is a bit rushed perhaps. read from right to left, like a manga. i’ll post it in parts because of the ten image upload limit.
i hope that somebody will be able to connect to it, and maybe you will see a part of yourself in it. i think at our core, people are not so different.
I could not believe my eyes when I saw her at my doorstep.
When I was an adolescent, I had fallen very ill.The illness wasunknown among doctors and scientist. He said my antibody could not contain the drastic changes and was constantly breaking down. There was no solution to my illness. The doctor estimated that I left only ten years - to live.Due to my illness, I no longer able to pursue further studies and have been resting in bed for the fainthope of recovery. All my friends I once known soon forgotten about me and stopped coming over to my house. Before I knew it, I was all alone.
As I reminisce the bitter-sweet memories I had with my loved ones, I felt a sting in my chest.
Unexpectedly, memories of my neighbour, came to mind. I knew her since childhood. Memories of her came rushing in, occupying my every thoughts. Her name is Catherine. We met during the second month of elementary school. I was just a transfer student, a nobody. I heard she was a popular kid who never failed at acing, not even once. But for a popular kid like her, she seemed all alone. We had Drama class and everybody scattered around like ants. They want to be partner with their friends. We ended up being the only ones without a pair. Our teacher decided it for us and we seemed like an odd couple. I could somehow sense eerie glare around us. The teacher gave out our assignments and each one of us will receive a different topic. The topic of our assignment was ‘The Robot Butler’. During the time spent in that assignment, it created a bond between us. We became best neighbour and friend since then.
Every recess, I would rush down the stairs to meet up with her in the school cafeteria. She would always share interesting stories she read in the public library and brought lunch from home for the both of us to share. ‘Here, try this chocolate cake! My mum made it. Say ahh..’ was what she would always say cheerfully. I must say, her mother is an excellent baker. Her mom makes the best brownies!
Memories flashing again. During high school, I remembered the time we fought over a silly misunderstanding. We ignored each other for nearly half a year! But that issue was soon resolved after we stumbled each other in the tennis court. We took out our anger on the tennis ball until we were drenched in sweat. The skin of the ball peeled a little after she made that last swing. It flew so fast, I missed it. It smashed my into my face. I was out cold. Those were the juvenile days. This caused me to well up with tears. It streamed across my cheeks, flowing down my neck, dripping onto my chest. The spot of tears increased in size.
“Oh, Catherine. How I missed you so.”
One winter, Catherine’s parents phoned my family to inform that they would be flying to England. Her dad got an increment and was called in for immediate transfer. The company provided food, vehicle, lodging, everything! They need not to worry about a living. Her flight departure was tonight because by the time the aircraft land, it would be morning. I felt sad that she had to go. We drove together to the airport to see them off. I told her all my misses and love. I took a long glance at her while she gripped onto my palm firmly - yet tenderly. Slowly, I let her go. She gave off a faint smile. We bid them farewell and I never saw her ever since.
It felt colder than winter. I felt sick and fainted after that.
I woke up with a hazy eyesight. I glanced around capturing the image of the surroundings. My eyes regained its sight. “Tha—this isn’t my room” I spoke in a hoarse whisper. I could barely speak. It felt like I had been sleeping for a thousand years! “Why is there a transparent mask on my face?” I thought to myself. I felt a warm presence beside me. I took a glance and found my mum. She was sleeping soundly at the bed’s edge. Her head on top of her crossed hands while sleeping in a seating position. Her eyes seemed wrinkly, puffy-pink. “Where’s dad?” I wondered. “Where am I…” I said while rubbing my head.
My mum was startled by the nudge I made. She rubbed her eyes and yawned “Oh good morning hun—!” She gasped. Her eyes widened, jaws dropped. She spun around her chair and started yelling at the door, “DADDY!!! GET IN HERE!!! SHE’S AWAKE!!!” Then she turned back and hugged me forcefully. It was so tight a grip that I could hear my bones crack. “Mum.. You’re hurting me…” I grunt. “Oh! Sorry, honey!” she said shifting away. My dad barged through the door like the man he is and rushed towards my direction. For a second there, I thought I saw hulk. “Sweetie!” He said while shedding a tear or two. “Oh gosh not agai—uf! can’t.. breathe..” Gasping for air. “My bad!” he pulled away. He cupped my cheeks pecked on my forehead. “We’re glad you’re back.” They said in unison.
I can see the look in their baggy-panda eyes. They told me they were worried sick. They thought they had lost me. They mentioned something about me being ‘asleep’ for nearly a year! Well it did felt like a thousand years.
They explained that after we got back from the airport, I told them I would be going upstairs to rest in my bedroom. But they knew very well that, that was not it. As I trailed up the stairs, my mum saw that I was behaving very odd. She noticed my torso was swaying obviously from side to side. Shortly after that, I fell tumbling down like a huge boulder. I hit my head on the edge of the stairs. It tore my tissues open. Blood gushing from the wound like a spilled cotton milk. The doctor mentioned that in another month if i’m not awake, they decided to turn off the oxygen gas supplier. He said I was lucky. Any deeper to the brain, I would have lost all my memories - forever. I was still in a daze by then. With a wink of an eye, I black-out.
Maybe losing my memories - isn’t that bad.
Slowly opening my eyes, I regained consciousness. I gave myself a good stretch. My mum was beside me, peeling an orange with a knife. I sat up straight. “Do you want some, dear?” She said with a smile. “I dreamt eating one of those” I said chuckling. I faced towards her and opened my mouth then she fed me.
One week later, the doctor unwrapped the bandage off my head. He told us I could be discharged within a couple of hours. They just need to get my parents signature and we are good to go. My mum packed my stuff into my luggage and placed it on the table. Finally, I could go home. I felt like I was trapped in a cage there. My parents treated me like a feeble and delicate child. When we went home, nostalgia hit me - hard. Faint memories surfacing back. One by one flashing back into existence. I could hear her chuckling laughter lingering in my head. I dread with fear. I ran straight into my room and wept bitterly. I locked the door shut behind me so that no one could come in. I hid myself in the closet and that is where I lay asleep, in my tears.
Only time could mend the wounds in my heart. I discarded every memento I had with her.
As the countdown striking towards its end, my health was worsened. I was bedridden. My bones and muscles are of no use to me now; I felt so helpless. Oh, how I wished I could just rest in peace without experiencing all the aches and pain. Needle and water bag penetrate all over my arm. Lying in bed idly, waiting for my moment to come. All I could see was a bleak future waiting around the corner. I prayed for happiness - and long life, to all the people I have and had known. I shut my lids and took a deep breath, releasing desolate sigh.
I was startled by the creaking sound, followed by a familiar voice. I glaced at the door…. I could not believe my eyes when I saw her at my doorstep. Many seasons passed, my time is up. I soon breathed my last breath, wishing I had a little more time.
"i’m sorry" she said.