A few days back, as I was walking by the promenade with my parents, I saw two people coming from the opposite direction. A young girl, seated in a wheel chair, was being moved around by another young girl. Both appeared to be of Chinese origin. As we got closer to them, the girl in the wheelchair started smiling and waving energetically at us. She was wearing a cap and her face appeared to be unusually blown up. She asked us, “How are you all?” My parents, always happy to interact with strangers in this foreign land, stopped, asked about the couple’s wellbeing while I smiled at them. The girl in the wheelchair had a constant smile on her face. After exchanging a few details about where we live and where we come from, she pointed to her head, saying softly, “Cancer, Cancer”, her smile always on. We said that she will get well soon. She replied with the same smile that she had already been operated upon twice and now there was little hope. We froze, not knowing what to say or do. Why was she so keen to talk to us? May be she wanted to gather as much experiences she could in the limited days of life she had? How many days would we be able to see her walk by the promenade? Would our passing affections and concerns ease any of her pains? We gave her our empty encouragements that there is always hope till all is not lost. And then we continued on our separate paths. Life is fleeting, emotions more so.
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