One year ago today my dear young friend Tasnim died after a 2 years fight with cancer. She was in year 6 at my school the first year I was there and I worked with her often, helping her edit her work and increase her vocabulary. She was an avid reader and wanted to do well in school and was such a joy to work with. She went on to secondary school and I forgot about her as I was busy helping other young people. But then we got word that there was a lump on her collar bone and they were running tests. It turned out to be bone cancer. She had it removed and they started treatment and I sent her a card that sparked off a renewal to our friendship. She was no longer a pupil, but grew into a dear friend. We wrote often and after a year her mother gave me her mobile phone number and we began to talk once a week. I made a few visits to her house when she was feeling well and we made cards together. Tasnim, even in her great weakness from the drugs remained a crafty person. Her eyes could no longer focus and read and so I sent her CDs from audio library so she could still have access to books. We talked openly and honestly about illness and death--something she had not been able to do with her own family. But after 2 years of fighting, the cancer spread and she could no longer go on. She held on many months longer than she probably needed to because her mother was so devastated and was begging her not to go. She was 15 years old when she died. It was very hard because I had come to love her as a sister. But I know she put more into those last few years that some people do in a lifetime.
Tasnim, I remember and I miss you.
22 years ago, back in 1989 on the 20th of February, Spiderman and I had our first date. We were supposed to go out to dinner and then to the Homecoming Game, but over dinner we discovered that neither of us liked basketball all that much and so we decided to skip the game. we went back to our dorm rooms, took off our fancy clothes and put on some warm, practical clothes then grabbed a blanket and some bread and went out to the lake to feed the ducks. We spent a long time huddled up together under the blanket feeding the ducks under the midnight sky and talking. So much nicer than sitting through a basketball game.
Then a year later in 1990 we found ourselves as exchange students in England--a place we fell in love with and vowed to come back to someday. And here we are. On the 20th of February 21 years ago, Spiderman asked me to marry him and he's been stuck with me ever since.
Spiderman, I remember. And I love you.