In the Days of Anita
She was born in the morning, after I had had my morning coffee. Her shrill cries were heard by the world in that little corner of home. I grew with her every moment of every day. She was an energetic girl with an open heart. She was not afraid to touch the world, even from an early age. She pranced about with vigour and song and drew flowers with crayon and pencil.
She tugged my heart along through her days. I joyed with her, I lamented with her. I was her friend with whom she shared all her secrets. In those days when the world began to move by more aggressively I was there with her, and I saw how she trusted everyone else less and kept more secrets with me. We hugged each other and condoled in the recognition of the change. When the tears came I wiped her rosy cheeks and held her close.
I was there the day the car crashed and her mother passed on. It was a month before she went to college. She had lost a pillar in her life and she wept as she confessed her despair to me.
By and by we did walk boldly through life, together. I was happy when she sold her first painting at an art gallery. She was still in college. I was proud because I had been there with her as she painted.
I accompanied her to the clinic on the day the diagnosis was made. I held her hand as her face went blank. We sat in her room that evening poring over charts of five-year survival rates for various types of leukaemia. She looked up at me with tearful eyes.
“I wish there was more time,” she said.
“We’ll fight this together,” I replied. She had art galleries to attend. Places to visit. And dinner with Martin the following Saturday.
I closed the book as Anita’s story came to an end. Time had flitted by and it was evening already. I had tears in my eyes.