I sat beside her bed, watching the life slowly leave her eyes. I hastily wiped a tear from my eye, because she had made me promise no tears, none at all, but how could she have asked that of me? She was leaving me, leaving this world, and my heart was breaking. Nothing could compare to the pain I felt.
I remembered the conversation we had the night before, “Hey lazy butt lift your head”. I heard a soft whisper and felt a hand nudge my head, at first I was startled, and confused. I blinked a few times and slowly everything came back. The slow and constant beeping of the heart machine, the heavy laboured breathing, that smell you only smelled when at the hospital and the fact that I was painfully waiting for her light to fade.
“Oh, cheer up! You are making me feel depressed,” she made a joke, laughing or rather trying to laugh. I smiled a small smile thinking about how brave she was and how she did not even look a little sad at the condition she was in.
“And here I thought you’re done cracking your lame jokes,” I said, putting on a happy face while my heart cried out in pain.
“Me? Crack lame jokes, yeah right, that’s more your style,” she replied still smiling. As time went by we looked at each other. I kept thinking how could this have happened? She was still so young and vibrant, she still had a lot to do and she had always been a good person, she had never harmed anyone intentionally always had to share with others and she was generally a happy, healthy and loving person. How could she be leaving me? What would I do without her? No, I refuse to believe this, she can’t leave, I need her.
She took my hand as if she was reading my mind, I felt the heat of her hand and held on for dear life.
“You do know you will be OK, right? You will find someone who will be there for you, who will listen to your complaints, give you advice, keep your secrets and wipe your tears. I have to leave, my time is up and I have to tell you I do not regret one second of my life. I just wish I had met you earlier. You became my soulmate, my other half, the one who knows me better than I sometimes know myself. I need you to be strong and brave, you have to be or I’ll break and I do not want you to remember me with tears running down my face and snot coming from my nose. You have to be strong for my parents and remind them that we have no control over these things and it happens as it was decreed. We must always remember, Allah Knows Best and He is the best of planners. You should not be sad when I’m gone but knowing you I’ll allow you to be sad for a day, but remember – ONE day! Then the following day you have to promise you’ll go to our spot and remember me. You may cry, but when you leave, there should be no more tears. You have to make dua for me: ask Allah to forgive me and ask Him to connect us again in Jannah InshaAllah – you better live a good life so that you will be going there in the first place! You should also name your firstborn daughter after me, I’ve always told you Noora is a beautiful name,” I was about to say something but she stopped me.
“No, please don’t interrupt me because I need to say all this before my time is up. Go out and find happiness but don’t just fall for anyone ‘Your Prince in Shining Kurta’ will find you and you’ll be happy like we always said we would – remember our daydreaming? You must remember me always because if I’m able to, I will always remember you. You need to know you are not just my best friend you are my sister, my twin sister, my confidant and my very own Hero. My life would not have been the same if you were not in it. No words will be able to express how much I love you and how much you mean to me. One more thing… please promise me while you sit here you will not cry, not even one tear, please? ” she asked. I could barely speak and my reply came out so soft I didn’t even think she heard me.
“I promise Noora… I love you too.”
I left the room to give her parents time with her but they came out saying she asked me to be there with her so we could spend our last time together since we couldn’t spend our first hours together, sometimes she would say the weirdest things, but I knew what she meant and I wanted that too. Now watching her leave this life I placed my hand on hers and noticed a smile on her face.
“Thank you Nooree I will miss you so much…” I lifted myself up and we hugged each other as best we could. As I held my best friend in my arms, I felt her last breath brush against my hijab and I heard the heart monitor give a few more beeps…then just one long one – and my friend was gone. I knew things would never be the same again: I would never see her smile or hear her laugh or listen to her lame jokes, but I knew that she would be fine and I would be fine too.
“Goodbye my friend, go well,” I said as the tears streamed down my face. I took one last deep breath and with it, I took in the smell of Noora, my best friend, my sister, and now my guardian angel.
Written by: Riahannah Halliem with help from Thakierah Rajap