I don’t remember our first meeting. But I’m sure you do. You don’t forget anything. I always wondered how your brain filed away every single detail and retrieved it years later without a hesitation. You’ll tell me someday, when we meet again. You remembered that S used to sing “Tum ko dekha” to me and make me cry everytime, two years after the event.
I do remember this drawing you made for your dad – the hanging of a cigarette, to encourage him to stop smoking. What brilliant imagination! It was the beginning of my admiration for you. I think we mostly got to know each other during the summer camp – the first one I ever led. Then of course we met at the board game club every week.
You used to say to me, “Ms.P, speak in a girl’s voice. Please Ms.P.” When I explained that I couldn’t change my voice. You’d insist “Please try.” Though I was bullied all through my childhood about my voice, your comment amused me. You made me smile, the earnestness with which you asked me to try. You truly believed I could change it if I wanted. In a way you altered my childhood memories about being bullied into something that made me smile. For that I am grateful to you.
You know that’s not all I am grateful for. You understood the depth of the loss I felt when G the cat died. You would ask me every week for months after if I was sad because I missed him. Then you’d see the tears in my eyes, come close to me, look me straight in the eye and say “Don’t be sad.” There was so much care in that gesture.
When I was leaving you said to me, “When I miss you, I’ll look at your photo.” There was something about us you and me, our relationship, was effortless from the beginning. We understood each other. This time when we met after 2 years, you were quiet at first, observing me from a distance. Then we spoke a little. I didn’t have much time and we need time you and I to start talking. When I was leaving you said to me, “Ms.P, Don’t go this time.” It broke my heart, that look in your eyes. I really didn’t want to go.
I miss you B. And I look at your picture and the card you made me and sometimes I cry. But I know we’ll meet again. Soon. And you’ll tell me about our first meeting?