I discovered my passion for writing after I quit my day job. So I began to write fiction stories, self-help books, and articles, blogs, etc.
I came to know Mou in grade 9 of a reputable school. She arrived late into the class after leaving abroad for good.
I was new to the school also but attended it from the very beginning of the grade. When I first confronted Mou in school, I thought her to be a blessing because I was kind of lonely, and other classmates stayed aloof from me.
We became close friends. And when we had appeared in an O-level exam after finishing grade 10, Mou said, "I think we can be best friends. What do you say?”
I said happily, “Yes, it’s about time.”
After appearing in A-levels, I was sitting around for results and getting admitted to a university.
One day, a classmate gave me the bad news that Mou’s father had passed away. I felt a pang of agony.
I had never visited Mou’s home. But this was an opportunity to meet her and get all the details about her Dad's passing.
Now I didn’t know her address but knew a teacher from the primary shift of our school who was in close contact with Mou’s family. So finally, I contacted the teacher via another source, and eventually, I got Mou’s address.
I paid her a visit by rickshaw, Mom accompanying me.
It was a sad story of Mou’s Dad. He was playing chess with friends one night. Mou, her brother and their Mom had gone to sleep. When they woke up in the morning, they found him, to their extreme surprise, in the living room in his rocking chair with his eyes closed.
Mou and her brother shook him and tried to wake him up. He moved not an inch. They tried to check his pulse but in vain.
Soon they called an ambulance and took him to the hospital nearby where he was announced to be dead already.
After hearing this story, I was moved, tears filling up my eyes. I sympathized with Mou and comforted her.
She said, “I always think he will come back, but he never does.”
I was even sadder when she made this statement.
I visited Mou’s place often, and she came to mine. My parents always treated her well as a guest. Many a time she had breakfast or lunch with us. I also went by rickshaw to her place. It was a long 20 minutes ride, and the traffic jam was much less sparse all those years back than today.
At times, I saw piles of Reader’s Digest, the Asian Edition in her bedroom, and I would ask her politely to borrow some. I found interest in Reader’s Digest especially the parts, “Points to Ponder”, “Laughter is the Best Medicine” and “Drama in Real Life”.
On one of my visits to Mou’s place, I found her lying on a bed. I assumed her to have flu. But her Mom explained it was worse than that. She had a severe allergic reaction and had to use an epi-pen to wear off the effects for 10 to 20 minutes.
“What exactly is an epi-pen?" I asked. Her Mom explained, "If someone gets prescribed an epi-pen, they should carry it with them at all times and use it immediately at the first signs and symptoms of a severe allergic reaction. In a severe allergic emergency, quick symptom recognition and immediate treatment are vital.”
Mou came to my place two weeks later. We sang songs on the harmonium, conversed for long hours, reminiscing the past and cutting jokes. Mou was in perfect health then. But she had her epi-pen with her just in case.
When it was my turn to visit her, I reached her apartment and rang the bell. No one came to the door. Her maidservant or Mom was nowhere to be seen. So I turned the knob of the door, and it opened. I called Mou by name. I could hear her low groans. When I went inside her bedroom, I saw her lying flat out on the bed, feeling sick.
“What’s wrong with you?” I asked.
Mou just touched her head as if she would lose her consciousness.
"Are you having a severe allergic reaction?"
She just managed to nod.
"Where is your epi-pen?" I asked desperately.
It looked as if she was going to faint.
“Where is your Mom? Where is everybody else?” I asked in extreme despair.
Tears rolled down from her eyes and down her cheeks. Then the symptoms came in. She was, of course, suffering from her life-threatening allergic reaction.
I asked her again, "Where is your epi-pen?"
As her airways swelled shut and her heart stopped functioning, there was no one around I could ask help from.
I screamed in my dilemma. That was when I heard a sound in my voice that I had never heard before.
Seconds later, my friend gasped and scrambled to her feet, all signs of swelling having disappeared.
“Are you okay now?” I asked.
She replied, “Yes, I am fine.”
I shot back, "Always keep your epi-pen ready."
She replied, “Yes, Mom and the servant went together to get it from the nearest medicine shop as it ran out of stock.”
I said calmly, "I just saw a miracle happen within you. I am glad you are safe and okay."
Mou sat on the bed perplexed. I went and hugged her. She hugged me back. From that moment on, our bonding became even more strengthened.
© 2020 Rosina S Khan