“How do you do it?” She asked as she stared into the distance as if to implore her ancestors to send a signal. At this point, she wasn’t even trying. She had thrown in the towel and bucket. It was depressing to see her in this state. I had many answers but would they really be helpful? Would I be adding any value to her situation or further distorting an already chaotic situation? Cindy and I had been friends for a while but we had never been in a situation where she was at rock bottom. We’d both had our lows but never to this point.
“I don’t know what to say. Sometimes no words can really make a difference. I can say many things to try and make the situation better but sometimes all I can do is listen,” I calmly said as I passed her the joint. Cindy had lost her dad who was her world. The loss was harder than anything she had ever experienced in her life. She was an only child that was brought up by her dad after her mother died when she was a toddler. He had dedicated his life to making her comfortable and she never lacked when he was around. He was a beam of bliss to anyone that interacted with him. I had the privilege of having him as my boss and potential father-in-law.
He was involved in a grisly accident when a drunk driver rammed into him barely a kilometer to his home. I took a heavy hit of the blunt and as I let out the smoke, I walked over to the edge of the balcony and stood over Cindy. “I’m not sure what I’m about to tell you will have any bearing in your life but I’m just going to tell you anyway. I haven’t even thought it over but I’ll just wing it. When I lost my dad, I felt the loss but at the back of mind I kept on thinking, shouldn’t this happen? It is a part of life, isn’t it?
We live well only to leave, well, everything. I didn’t even shed a tear. Everyone else broke down and I just moved on like this was all part of a bigger picture. But as months, years went by, I kept wondering, did I really do the right thing?” Everytime something happened and my mum wasn’t there to support me, I kept on thinking, maybe things would have been different with my dad around. And maybe they could have been. He was a great guy. He would have shown me the way. Told me that the world didn’t stop at a barrier. He’d give me advise on how to approach a girl, deal with a heartbreak and be a better man. And just lead a better life, you know?
But it wasn’t going to happen and I had to deal with it. You know my mum has always had my back at any given point. She would stand against her god to defend me. But despite all this I felt there was something lacking. I got everything I needed and love more than anything else but was that really enough? Sometimes I wouldn’t even talk to my dad when he was here but knowing he was there gave me comfort. When I see you in this state, I wish there was something I could say that would make you smile. Just to get a glimpse of your dimples. And your beautiful eyes. But even in all your sadness, I’m happy to see you grieve. It’s the one thing I wish I did. I would probably have accepted it like my mum did. I wouldn’t find different ways to deal with pain I could easily have solved with tears.
So when I don’t tell you to stop crying, it’s not that I don’t care. I know how it feels to not let out the pain. You’re doing something people struggle with. Facing your pain and trying to find your feet. You may find the balance immediately I finish this weird monologue or you may take years because we all heal at our own pace but eventually with trial, most of us heal.” Cindy stood from her seat walked toward me, put her hands around my neck, looked up to me and asked, “But have you healed though?” In my life nobody had ever asked me such a simple complex question. “I…I don’t really know. You know me, have I?” I stammered trying to stop the tears from falling onto Cindy’s face. Suddenly, I was the one in need of the comfort I was trying to offer.
“I really can’t tell. I’m never sure whether I suppressed the pain or dealt with it over time. What I do know is I want to be with you as you navigate this path. It gets lonely and sometimes you don’t need anyone with you even in that loneliness but knowing there’s always someone who can listen and give you comfort is very important. You’ve probably heard me say I don’t need anyone at some point but that’s probably because nobody would understand what I’m going through at that point in time. But sometimes you don’t really need someone to understand you, you just need them to be there and listen. I know I’ve said a whole lot of nothing but at the end of the day I’m here for you. It’ll take time but that’s all we have when
dealing with a loss.”
Cindy smiled as she looked into my eyes and whispered, “I know,” tears flowing down her cheeks.