Fathima Shihabudeen

February 22, 2004 - Thrissur
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BAK

I nearly died
Trying to prove to myself
That I was indeed, alive
And so I landed in Kozhikode
And we drove to Cochin
They drew my blood
And checked my vitals
They asked me why I was crying
Then handed me a tiny pill
A pill that they said would help me sleep
Then they sent us
To room number five-twenty
The sheets on the hospital beds
Had just been changed
Grandpa on the small bed,
Grandma and me on the patient's bed
My mother on the floor
That was where we slept
The Sun rose and the sky turned white
I showered and changed
Into a navy blue shirt and jeans
I was drying my hair
When the doctor arrived
His face shone in the sunlight
And so did the faces of the house surgeons
I could bet that he thought
That I had tried to kill myself the previous night
For we had reached the hospital
At two in the morning
He did not look straight at me
Perhaps thinking I was a lost cause
My grandparents went back home
It was just my mother and I
We were together but alone
And then your three year old daughter
Came into the doctor's office
While I was complaining to him
About a girl named Rhea
Who lived inside my head
He called it psychological projection
She ran inside and called me,"Kunhitha!"
'Little sister' in Malayalam
You came in and took her outside
When I was done talking to the doctor
I came outside
I saw you in the corridor
Talking with my mom
With Sara holding your hand
I took her in my arms
And kissed her forehead
It was December
You hung a cardboard star
In room number five-twenty
You came uninvited
But you we needed you terribly
For you ignited our damp souls
I told the doctor that I wanted to go out
Exercise and get some fresh air
He said that it wasn't allowed for inpatients
To leave the hospital
But he was a rebel
We ran in the ground
And I laughed even when my stomach hurt
Thinking no one was around
The students in the adjacent building
Saw through their windows
Three people running in the ground
Me, BAK and Sara
My mother sat on a nearby bench
Watching BAK and Sara make me laugh
For it had been some time
That she had seen me that way
The next day, the house surgeon asked,
If we had fun the previous night
We looked at each other, puzzled
And then broke into a shared laugh
They watched us running
From their dorm rooms
They watched us living
I'm torn between what the truth is
Whether they were my awful days
Or some of my best memories
I choose the latter
Because Bindhiya Abdul Kader
Was with me
BAK, as she proudly calls herself
Was with me
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