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Chapter 1: The Day My Life Ended

[Music Recommendation: "In Silence" by Janet Suhh (It's Okay Not To Be Okay OST)-available in Youtube or Spotify] ~ Please listen to it in a loop while you read this part to experience the utmost beauty of this chapter ~ Also, prepare some tissues T_T ~

"Take care of your brother for me."

That was what my mom always used to say to me. From when I was a mere kid, up until I grew to be a teenager, and even when I became an adult. She was kind and loving, though sickly. And my brother was too young—we had a big age gap of five years. As for my dad, well… don't ask.

Whenever she would say that, me who loves my mom so much, would always reply…

"Yes, mom."

"Of course."

"Anytime."

"Always."

Since my mom was sick, we had no Dad, and my brother was too young to take on work, the responsibility of upholding our family was left in my hands. "Bread-winner" was what they called people like me. It's very common in Asian countries—or maybe even in the western ones. Sounds nice yes, my relatives would always compliment how filial I was but nobody completely understood how "heavy" that burden really was, especially for the young me back then. I was merely sixteen, and I had to abandon college to work my ass off… in order to support our family.

Over the years of working, eating, sleeping, and repeating the same process with no goal in life, I would admit that... I began to question myself.

'If I keep on taking care of my brother… Who will take care of me?'

Too bad I realized that a little too late. I'm now 30 years of age, with no relationship whatsoever except for my family and a few good friends, no personal achievements in life except maybe the fact that I was able to help my brother graduate as a doctor-he always wanted to be one, no properties to my name, no memories I'm really fond of, no dreams or hopes or passion. And what's worse, I caught a rare disease because of my weakened immune system from overwork and fatigue. The doctor told me I only have a few months to live.

So now, I simply lay on the hospital bed, waiting for the day my life ends…

Sitting on the hospital bed, staring blankly on the window on a rainy day, I couldn't help but look back in my life, trying to reminisce about some wonderful memories. I didn't notice it but in just a few moments, tears started pouring down from my eyes…

Perhaps it was because I was near death's door that I could finally come face to face with my true self. The self that I tried so hard to hide all these years because I did my best in being a filial daughter. Because I did my best to understand, persevere, not give up, and to sacrifice… everything.

To the point that I already lost who I was along the way.

To the point that I forgot that I am a living, breathing, human being!

That I, too, used to have dreams I wanted to achieve!

That I, too, used to have passions I wanted to pursue!

That I, too, longed to be loved and understood!

That I, too, for once… wanted to be a little selfish.

"Sniff… sniff… sniff…" I bit my lips as I cried hard. I didn't want anyone to hear me and disturb me. I just wanted to be alone and be with my long-lost self.

That rainy day, I cried my heart out until all my tears dried up. Next day, my mother and brother visited me but I was in no mood to talk. Then a couple of friends came the next, and a few relatives the day after. I was uninterested in whatever they were saying. It was all useless now—their pity, the offer of help, their cries, their attention. They should have given those to me back when I was struggling. What use would I have of them now? Nothing. My life was ending. It was funny how people only notice one's importance when they're gone… or would be gone.

"Senara," a familiar voice called out to me one day, on a blazing sunset, like the color of my hair.

I turned around to look at her—the only person I had the energy to talk to, and the only person who truly understood me—my best friend, Hora.

All she did was show up, and there I was with a wretched face, and tears rolling down my face in an uneven manner.

"H-Hora…," I barely managed to speak her name.

She rushed towards me, crying as well, and held me in her warm embrace. Hours passed with us just simply hugging and crying, not even saying a single thing.

It took me a while to recover. When I did, I tried my best to smile at her. If I end up dying at that moment, I at least wanted her to see me leave with a smile on my face.

"Senara, you're so young," Hora sobbed again as she caressed my sunken cheeks. "Still so young… sniff… sniff… How can this be? All your life you lived for them. You didn't even get to enjoy anything! Why you? Why can't it be just somebody else?"

I patted her shoulders, trying to calm her down.

"Don't say that, Hora. It's bad to wish for others' misfortune."

"But what about you? You deserve to be happy! You can't die yet! Not like this… sniff… sniff."

Deep inside, I agreed with her.

"If only I could go back in time… I'll make sure to live my life for my sake and not somebody else's."

Yes, maybe that way I wouldn't have so many regrets on my deathbed right now.

Alas, my flesh failed, leaving only those words as parting to my friend. It came without notice. I thought I still had a couple of days more… I didn't even get to thank her for a lot of things. Last thing I remembered was her face frantically calling out my name.

"Senara! Noooo!!! Wake up! Please! Wake up!"


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