I have yet to meet anyone like Emily. She was truly unique and one in a million. Though we were only together for a short while, she was one person who had profoundly affected my whole life. Her presence gave more meaning to my life and because of her I did not merely exist, but I LIVED.
I was eight years old when the Portman’s moved in next door. Though it was such a long time ago, I still remember that day clearly as if it were yesterday.
It was a bright Sunday morning; my mom and I were baking some cookies in the kitchen when a huge van stopped next door. I went over to the window and peeked outside and I saw this fragile girl being lifted into an awaiting wheelchair. She was about my age, she had this straight silky black hair that reached only to her chin, her face was pale and had a few smattering of freckles. She had a cute little nose and a Cupid’s bow mouth. The most striking feature she had were her eyes – blue as the sky on a clear sunny day, fringed with long dark lashes. In spite of the obvious fragility of her body, she exuded an air of vitality.
Then I went out to our front porch to get a closer look at the family. One of her brothers was pushing her chair up into the house when she looked in my direction, then on an impulse I waved to her and she smiled and waved back at me.
That afternoon my mom and I went over next door and introduced ourselves. We also brought some of the cookies that we baked that morning.
That first visit was followed by a lot more, especially by me because since then Emily and I had become firm friends. Every time I disappeared from the house, my mom only has to holler “Jancy!” because she knows that I am only next door. Emily was not able to play outside because of her health condition. She had hemophilia – a blood condition when a certain substance in the blood is absent which in turn makes her prone to so much hemorrhage. Emily told me that they moved in order to be closer to the hospital. In a child-like manner I once asked her how she felt about her condition.
" Are you going to die?" I asked her.
She looked thoughtful for a while, "No . . . not yet. It's not yet time. I'm going to prove the doctors wrong you know. They told my parents that I might not even reach the age of eight, well I'm eight now which only shows how wrong they are." she said with determination written on her face.
Then abruptly she said, "Let's nottalk about death anymore, let's just enjoy life for as long as it lasts. Anyway, what are your plans for your future?"
"Well . . . I don't know yet. Anyway I'm not rushing, there is still plenty of time to think about it," I answered her.
She did not say anything to that, but she looked wistful when she said, "You know I really want to become a doctor, I want to specialize in pediatrics. I feel like I am being called to help the children who are sick just like me. I have seen them you know, in the hospitals that we've been to. Some are even a worse case than me and it makes me think that maybe there's something I can do to help ease their pain."
That innocent converstaion that we had stuck to my mind like a glue.
Emily proved the doctors wrong. although there were times I could see the physical pain she was feeling was almost too much to bear, still she held on. Seven years went by and in that seven years she had numerous transfusions in order to replace the bood that she had lost. Emily and I had the same blood type so I gave her some of mine which for me was symbolic because for me it further cemented tthe bond that we already share.
Everythig was fine or so we thought when Emily's conditon turned for the worst. Then in the twilight Emily finally said goodbye.
I was just coming home from schoolwhen Isaw the ambualnce in fron of their house,then I knew. I rushed into her room but it was already too late,her family was on her bedside crying. I couldn't breathe, my mind went blank but I couldfeel this gaping emptiness inside my breast. Then her mom saw me and she looked into my eyes and said "she's gone". That's the moment I felt my chest explode with great wrenshing sobs because my friend is gone forever and I could never see her or talk to her again.
"No . . . ! I didn't even get to say good bye. Emily, you didn't even give methe chance to say goodbye...!" I sobbed out.
"It's okay, listen to me Jancy, she understands . . . Emily understands." Mrs. Portman hugged me to her and together we cried for the one we lost.
During the burial, her mom gave mea letter from Emily. That letter was the onyl thing that helped me make it through that time. It said,
I know by the time you read this I'll be gone. Don't be sad dearest Jan, because you know in your heart that I will always be with you.
You have a future that us bright and promising, do not be afraid. Be strong and courageous for success comes to those who strive hard enough.
Jan you know life is so precious, every waking minute counts. Just like the sands in an hour-glass, there is no way we can stop it from trickling away - a moment, then it's gone forever. lease don't waste a moment of your life dearest Jan.
Don't be sad, I will always be with you . . .
I still have that letter with me as I stand here today beside the grave of the girl - my friend who opened my eyes to life. Emily you dream lives in me .
To may dearest Emily - my friend - thank you for stepping into my life. . .