(Egad, it's the 19th already and we're only into our SIXTH post of the month? That's like the blogging regularity of a regular person with a healthy social life! Has Twisted Tales' moment in the sun passed, or is the busiest stretch of the year to be blamed? Oh well, let's just give your harried writer here the benefit of the doubt and hope that the goodies will start appearing come the new year. But wait, then there's Chinese New Year...
Bleargh, passion, passion...that's what I'm supposed to write with, right?)
Okay, I'll be honest. The part in brackets was written three days ago, which was when I started writing this chapter and have been unable to finish since. Between the rushing to and fro college for the graduation exhibition setup, some dumb interview with the college, designing, redesigning, and re-redesigning the church bulletin which I still insist sucks, trying my hardest to feel like I'm on holiday, and lots of other menial stuff like eating and sleeping, I can't believe I'm still almost as busy as I was at the end of the term. Talk about reliving a nightmare.
But the biggest bombshell came yesterday. As I was driving home, I suddenly received an SMS from Zhi Yong which went something like, "Eh, did you hear? Ju Liang is in the hospital for suspected leukemia. Pls pray for him.". Ju Liang is, in case you didn't know, a pretty close friend of mine in church. Rather numbly I just deleted the message and muttered a half-hearted prayer or two when traffic was slow.
The severity of the situation didn't strike me still this morning. Watching Narnia with some friends. Fetching them back. Doing my usual crappy high-pitched sing-along to Phantom Of The Opera to amuse them. Driving to college. Doing minimal work. Goofing around with a digital camera. All the while Ju Liang was on my mind, but I still somehow assumed him to be having some sort of high fever. I don't know why nothing bad crossed my mind. Maybe I'm just like that.
It was only when I was at Zhi Yong's house later, about to leave for the hospital to visit Ju Liang, that Zhi Yong's father let me in on the diagnosis. Apparently Ju Liang was confirmed to be suffering from leukemia and has to undergo chemotheraphy. The expected life span for a leukemia patient after treatment is five years.
Now he was talking about life spans.
I've read countless such stories and articles, and not one of them has left a lasting impression on me. I don't expect this one to change you in any way, unless you know Ju Liang too. It doesn't have a moral lesson at the end. It's not a feel-good story, nor a heartstrings-tugging one. In fact, the story hasn't even started yet. I'm writing this down just because I need to.
He seemed fine at the hospital.
At the end of the night, I asked Zhi Yong, "Hey...he'll be all right, won't he?"
"Will he...die?" I just had to ask.
"Oh well," I looked up at the stars, dotting the black sky like silverdust. "I could think of a million things to say beginning with 'I think God is trying to...', but who am I to speak of God's will?"
Dear Lord Jesus, please take good care of my friend Ju Liang.
Wow, that almost qualifies as a seperate Writer's Block. Never mind, the story's gonna be an added bonus...
The New Girl, Chapter 17
Jean eyed the unguarded window at the far end of the room. The other two patients between her and the window were fast asleep in their beds though it was still bright. The annoying nurse who checked on them every hour was still fifteen minutes before schedule. Plenty of time for her to climb out and hail a taxi to school before anyone noticed.
She'd been stuck here for an entire morning and afternoon, ready to wither from the boredom. Her parents were still out there consulting with the doctors on the A to Zs of her condition and from what little bit she could gather, still nobody had a clue what was happening. Each time the doctors told them that in their medical gibberish, her father grew increasingly agitated while her mother inched closer to a nervous breakdown.
May was positive that black magic was behind it all. The only question was whether it was Saras' doing or Jean's. Both of them would want her to believe that the other did it, and had perfectly valid reasons to back themselves up. To make matters worse, she still didn't know if Jean was all right after her tantrum in the garden.
"Excuse me, Miss Leong," the nurse poked her head in. "You have a guest."
A guest? It had better not be the first in a dreaded never-ending slew of relatives asking the same questions over and over.
"Let him in."
She heard the nurse speak softly to someone and then the door opening. It was Saras.
"Saras?" She looked very much different from her usual rowdy self in school, almost docile with her neat untied hair and cotton skirt. "I-I didn't expect you at all."
"I won't take long." she smiled and sat beside her bed.