The school bus waited for her at the corner of the lane. “Bye mom,” she waved out to her mother. Her mother, in her late thirties waved back at her. I never forgot to notice those tears that rolled down her cheeks as she waved out to her daughter. She forced herself to smile. The cause of these tears was unknown. Most mothers kissed their kids while sending them to school; some reprimanded them for being late, some were busy reciting a list of do and do not at school. The journey from home to school was like an entertainment segment for me until I reached school just in time to shake hands with the self proclaimed enemy, physics. Pixie, I liked calling her so. Her quick eyes, sharp nose, the jet black curly hair, she appeared to me like one, straight out of a fairy tale. She was one of the cutest looking kids in my bus. She was a perfect mixture of innocence, naughtiness, excitement, love and most importantly friendship. She was different from all other kids of her age. She was genuine. She lived every moment of her life to the fullest something that I, three years senior to her could not. She hugged when she was happy (she hugged me tight a few weeks back and said that I felt like a teddy bear), cried without feeling ashamed when sad, did all that the other kids could not even think of doing. Maybe that is why she was so special to me. She was more like a potion to heal, a medicine for the beleaguered soul.
She shared everything with me. The subjects she loved, the ones she hated, the teacher whom she detested, and the pranks she intended to execute at the earliest. I was her audience. She loved her mother the most and challenged me to find a café’ that served lemon pies better than the ones her mother prepared every weekend. She had once packed some for me too. I must admit, pixie was right. I had never tasted a lemon pie more delicious than the ones her mother prepared. I packed idlis for her on special request which she ate as though she was starving for months together.
She consoled me when I was unhappy even if she did not know what it was that troubled me. She knew of the equation that I shared with physics and would often give me weird ideas on how to murder Albert Einstein (ok, she did not know that he was dead at that point of time). Pixie was the pinnacle of ecstasy. I knew it when she was in euphoria. Her mother invited me over to her birthday and told me as to how she used to come home and imitate me! I caught her the very next day and asked her to perform it for me to which she obliged. What an awesome mimicry artist did she prove to be! It was like watching me in front of me. She did borrow my spectacles to bring in some reality. She was my pixie, pixie with a heart of gold.
A few months back, I got to know from some girls in the junior level that she had fainted during the math class and was rushed to the hospital. I did not hear of her till the next morning. In the morning, a friend called up at around seven and revealed to me something that I wish never reached my ears. She was suffering from brain tumour since the past few months. Pixie! My pixie was battling with tumour? How? When? With so many questions in my mind, I just sat still. Her mother, her mother, those tears, it was because of this. I realized it that day. How I longed to be with her. I wanted to hug her and not leave her. I wanted to be there by her side. My mother rushed me to the hospital where she was being treated. I was inconsolable. I could not think of anything or anyone but her.
On seeing me, her mother broke down. “She looked up to you as her older sister. You filled the void in her life, that of an older sister. She was so fond of you.” I could not hold on any longer. I thought of supporting her family through this but started crying profusely in front of all the people present there. I mustered the courage to enter the intensive care unit where she was kept after she underwent a surgery. The dark room added to my grief, it made me feel sick. To my shock, her head was shaven. She was bald. That curly black hair was now replaced with a whole lot of bandages. She was awake. She looked at me and smiled. “Hi!” she said. She asked me to come near her. I walked up to her reaffirming that I will not lose my control in front of her. She looked happy. She started talking to me and made fun of my gloomy look. Never did she mention her ailment during the conversation. I played along with her for about ten minutes after which the nurse asked me to leave. “She is a pest. She is my target. It is no problem if I cannot try it on Albert Einstein. I can try our plan on her.” I could not hold on any longer. I ran out of the room.
I did not sleep that night. My mother knew how disturbed I was. She knew it was difficult for me to travel in the school bus any longer and made sure that either father or she dropped and picked me from school. After a month and a half pixie joined school. She did not attend on a regular basis but did come whenever it was necessary. She had little strands of hair that grew on her head. I joined her for lunch every afternoon and forced mom into cooking all that she loved and was allowed to eat. I went over to her house every weekend to play with her. I behaved like a little child in her presence. I cherished every moment I spent with her. She did not mention anything about the tumour till one fine morning when she asked me what I will do if she was to die. I was shocked at her question. I did not know what to tell her. I did not utter a single word. I felt like I had lost my ability to speak. She sensed my uneasiness and said “make sure that you come over every weekend and demand the lemon pie from my mother. She would love to make them for you.” She walked as though nothing had happened to her. I knew her truth. Her doctor was my one of my class fellow’s mother. After a lot of pestering and promises, she revealed it all to me. She was not going to survive this. She barely had few months with her. It left me devastated. I did not cry but promised myself to be by her side till the day of parting ways arrived.
I did everything that she demanded from me to do on her behalf but abstained from doing things that the doctors asked her not to. I wanted her to live even if it was for a day more than what the Gods had in store for her. I prayed at the chapel for hours together in desperate need of a miracle. A miracle for her, a miracle that could spare her life. Sometimes I used to think of all that had to happen to her. She had to live so many moments, she had to complete school, go to the university, graduate, work, become successful, get married ,have kids. She had to enjoy it all. If only she could live through all this to enjoy all those precious moments that makes human life so beautiful. I often thought of her parents. She was their only daughter. They dreamt for a nice living for her and worked hard to provide her with one. They made sure that the best doctors attended her and that there were no stones left unturned in giving her a new leash of life.
She did live the remaining days of her life the way she did all through these years. Days would not be appropriate. She lived every moment. Never once did she cry, burst out, speak of her enemy. In spite of the treatment that left her exhausted, she fought till the end. On twenty fifth October, 2005 she lost the battle and passed away peacefully while she was asleep. Her body did fall asleep but her spirit remains. She is my teacher in the true sense. She is the one who taught me little things that no school or text book could teach me. She imparted to me lessons for life. She encouraged me to live life to the fullest and not spare a single moment of my life. The eight year old had won the hearts of many. Her life was something you and I must learn from. Her intransigent spirit is the master and was actually the winner of the battle. She continues to amaze me till date. She has a special place in my heart and nobody can take it away from her. My pixie my friend, my little sister, my rock star and my teacher will always remain with me till I breathe my last. I love you Pixie and will do so till the end of times.
Copyrights 2014 Elsa Thomas