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All These Names Are Just Names

Do you know what used to be my favorite quote?’ She asked me.  ‘Erm…’ was the best reply I could give. I wondered why she was talking to me at all. 

Everyday, I visit my best friend, Caro, in the hospital. She broke her arm in a fight with her boyfriend and although that one is one long story altogether, I’ll summarize it:

So, Caro is dating this really handsome guy named Duke (what kind of a name is that anyway?) and he’s really good looking and smooth talking and all that. One day, he slaps Caro and she tells me. I say to her ‘Do not even think of going back to him!’ But she doesn’t listen to me. She says he’s the only one that really gets her and anyway, they’ve been dating for two years now and he only just beat her once. I tell her, ‘One, if he can understand you, anyone can. It’s not supernatural. It only takes time and commitment to understand anyone. And two, even if you two were dating for methuselah number of years, dating is dating and violence is violence. One is temporary and the other is permanent’ She jokingly said I have a smart mouth and I should put it to better use. Okay. Then, later when I’d ask her if he was being violent with her, she would say ‘Nah… Just the good kind of violence, you know. Sexy spanks’ and then she would wink. What is a sexy spank by the way? I told her there’s nothing sexy about a spank and she just rolled her eyes and said, ‘Say you don’t know. Don’t slander.’ Well, last week, the sexy probably got out of hand… Literally. He twisted her right arm almost out of its joint. How wrong?!
Well, back to my real story. So Caro has this roommate with her in the hospital who has her leg handing up in a POP. She never speaks to me and Caro says she never speaks to her or anyone. She may even be confused for a mute if not that she speaks to the nurses and doctors. 

So this afternoon as I watched Caro sleep, when I heard her ask me what her favorite quote used to be, I was shocked. 

To my ‘Erm…’, she replied ‘I don’t have the time to face reality, my dreams keep me busy enough’ She smiled and added, ‘I formed the quote’ 

I moved to her bedside curiously and said, ‘Sounds smart. You’re a vivacious dream chaser?’

‘Was’ she corrected me. ‘I was a vivacious everything. Everyone loved me and I had too many friends to count. Now, I just manage not to kill myself and anyone who bothers about me’

‘Well… you seem like a nice person’ I lied. 

She laughed bitterly and said, ‘You lie like the devil.’

Feeling uncomfortable, I urged her to continue speaking. ‘I’m sure your friends still love you. You must get a lot of people checking on you and sending you stuff’

She shook her head as tears welled up in her eyes. Reaching out for her bag, she wiped her tears with one hand and sniffed. She pulled out 7 pictures from her wallet and handed them over to me. The first showed her sitting on her hospital bed with a wide grin on her face, her plastered leg and a crowd of people behind her. The background white of the POP on her leg was barely visible as it was covered in colourful signatures and ‘I love you, get well soon’s 

As I looked through the other pictures, the crowds decreased, her smiles dwindled and the white on her POP shone brighter. 

When I was done, I couldn’t look at her face. She said, ‘You know, I am not bitter because they left me, I am bitter because I thought they’d stay’ 

Wow’ , I replied. ‘Those are a lot of names and faces to forget you here’

She smiled, ‘Well, that was about 6 months ago. That was the time when the faces were my affirmation that I was remembered and the names on the POP were my affirmation that I always will be remembered. Now? Now, the faces are just faces and the names are… well, just names’ 

I jabbed her playfully and said, ‘To be very honest with you, they all probably left because they couldn’t deal with you spewing out sentence that always sound like cool and deep quotes’

She laughed out loud as her voice cracked as though she hadn’t laughed that well in months. Then she said, ‘You know what they say, “The irony of life is that well-wishers hate to wish well to those who are as deep as wells”

I almost fell down laughing. 
No one says that, by the way. 


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“All These Names Are Just Names”

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