Our laughter rang in the corridor of the hospital with an intensity which even exceeded the patter of the heavy drizzle outside. The people around gazed at us in astonishment and we tried to hush ourselves up as the realization that we happen to be medical students dawned upon us. However, the white coat and stethoscope cannot conceal the sparkle within a bunch of teenage girls.
At the end of a long morning session, we were on our way to grab a bite at the canteen and as usual, we chattered all the way, the topics ranging from daily gossips to latest advancements in medicine.
It was in between a fit of laughter on the way that my eyes met hers’ and for a moment, I went completely blank. I stopped laughing as I felt as if all the happiness simply vanished from my life all of a sudden. The depth in those eyes tried to draw me into some sort of dark pit and even as I tried to take my eyes off her, I could see her gaze transfixed upon me or rather us.
Contrary to us, who were literally rushing through the corridor so that we can reach the next session in time, she walked in small steps with her parents’ support on either side which reminded me of an infant being taught to walk. The over-sized salwar she wore concealed her lean frame and I couldn’t help gazing at her slender fingers which emerged at the end of the long sleeve. The woolen shawl which was lazily worn around her head slipped down to her shoulders exposing her clean shaven scalp beneath.
My friends noticed that I had been lagging behind and motioned me to speed up. As I tried to catch up with them, I gathered the courage to look at her eyes for one last time but as did it, I ended up regretting it the next moment. A feeling of guilt crept into my mind as I recollected all those times I had taken my blessings for granted and complained that life is unfair to me.
I’m not really sure whether her tired eyes conveyed the agony about a life spent battling a deadly disease or her longing for a normal youth like any of us. But then, I am pretty sure that her gaze will be etched in my mind forever, as a reminder of the value of the laughter I share, the breaths I take and every moment in my life.