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The next morning when the nurse was cleaning the bed, she found an envelope under the pillow.

“To be given to my parents. NO ONE ELSE”.

That’s weird, the nurse thought but patients before doing have done a lot of stuff weirder than this. So, she picked up the envelope and went in search of the parents. They were in the corridor clearing the formalities and waiting to collect the body.

The mother of the 18-year-old was sobbing quietly and people, probably friends, and family, tried to calm her. What came across strange was the fact that she had never seen these people. But then again, that wasn’t something new.

In her 5 years of service, she had finally accepted the fact that people only remember others after they die. They speak kindly of them after the person is no longer around. Everyone becomes your best friend after you die.

She always thought it was hypocritical of people to act like they cared because deep down, the truth was, they didn’t. They were there just to show they were there. They didn’t feel bad for the kid who had died last night.

Near the counter was the father of the boy. Silently clearing the formalities. He wasn’t crying. He looked as if nothing had happened. He had that emotionless face. In all these months of treatment no matter what happened, the man had always kept his face still. He would never smile or cry. He’d rarely talk.

A strange man, the nurse thought. He had lost his son and he looked as if nothing had happened.

Initially, the nurse had decided to hand over the envelope to the mother but seeing too many people around, she decided otherwise.

So, she walked up to the man and handed over the envelope to him. He didn’t say a word. He just gave her a weak smile.

Well, that’s a first, the nurse thought and walked away. She had other important things to do than to just observe cold, numb, sad, or fake people.

Five minutes later, the man walked to his wife and asked her to follow him. She did as she was told.

The envelope contained a letter. Cliche but pure.

“Dear mum and dad;

No. Don’t worry. This is not my suicide note. I am not trying to kill myself again. Failing twice at that has been a lesson good enough for me. Or has it been?

Wait, you can’t commit suicide in a hospital. Or can you?

Well, enough of the stupid talks. I know dad doesn’t like a non-serious attitude. So, coming to the point, this is not a suicide note just a parting gift from my side. Maybe closure.

Now, as much as you’d like to say that I am going to be fine, we all know, I am not. I am doomed and I am going to die. Sooner or later. That’s my fate and when I die is still a mystery. So, I thought, why not write to you and hide it under my pillow.

Someone will find it out when I die and they’ll return it to you.

Mum, I know, this is a lot to take it at this point, but think of it as the final time you’ll hear from me. So, wipe your tears and hear me out, wait, read me out. I don’t if that’s even an expression but who cares. I don’t. Probably our relatives don’t too. I know you spent like 90% of your life telling me they care, but the truth is, THEY DON’T.

Anyways, the purpose of this letter is not for me to crack lame jokes, which I am cracking even now. Ugh, what will become of me? I am writing for the last time and I am still making silly jokes, wait, nothing will become of me. I am dying.

I tried to kill myself twice, failed twice, and just when I thought I should start to concentrate more on living, God pulled the plug. Like dude, wait, stop. I don’t want cancer yet. I need to watch more sunsets. Listen to more music. Read more books. Crack more silly jokes and go on a world tour. But I guess they’ll all just be wishes.

The thing is, I have been meaning to say this all my life but I couldn’t. Maybe my ego got in the way. Maybe I was too scared. I don’t know, but now that, I am dying I should tell you this. (Pro tip- never postpone things for later, you never know when God goes like, “Yeah, I guess it’s time to get this dude back, up here”).

So… I am sorry. I am sorry because I was never the son you wanted me to be. I am sorry, I wasn’t like the rest of my cousins. I am sorry for all the times I messed up. I am sorry for all the nights you had to spend in the hospital because of me. I am sorry for all the humiliation I caused. I am sorry because I couldn’t say I was sorry while I was still happy and okay. When my life was normal. I am sorry for not spending enough time with you.

To my best friend;

I know this is supposed to be for my parents only but now that I am writing, I thought, why not mention you too. Also, mum and dad, stop reading this part already. This is not for you. Respect my privacy after my death.

So, you dumb little man. Well, I am I’m the shorter one but dude, I could grow a beard. Yeah, well, you know…. I am so sorry that I wasn’t there all the time you needed me or wanted my help. I am sorry for pushing you away. I am sorry for not telling you that the cancer was eating me from the inside. I mean, how could I? I was dying and we had a life planned out together. It just didn’t feel right. And I love you man. I am glad I met you and got to know you. Thank you, dude, for always having me back. For always telling me things will be fine. For letting me be the crazy one. For picking me up whenever I fell. For helping me clear the mess I made every time. For sticking with him through every up and down. I love you man.

Our dream of our kids playing in the same park and being friends like we are will remain a dream. The world tour plan will remain a plan. All the dreams and promises are just mere sentences now. Actually, make sure you do all of it, or else I will haunt you.

Now that I am dying, I guess I should give you this free advice, don’t marry the girl you’re dating. She is crazy and you deserve better.

And yeah, you can never grow a beard.

Now, mum and dad, I know, even after my death you don’t respect my privacy and you probably have read this, it’s time for me to go.

No, I am not dying yet. I need to have my medicines.

My body is turning weaker day by day and I feel hollow from the inside. But the doctor says I need to have these medicines so I recover quickly. Ugh, dude what am I? A 10-year-old? Who are you kidding? I know there is no turning back and that I have a limited time left but still, I need to, if that is what it takes to give everyone a false hope that deep down, they know is false.

The last and most important thing, I committed suicide. No. No, wait. I am kidding. I didn’t.

The most important thing is, I love you all and I am lucky to even though I just 18 years into my life, I got to spend them with you. Probably this love for you three, inside of me is what is giving me the strength to write this. Ew, that is so cringes and cheesy but it is what it is.

Anyways, goodbye.

See you on the other side, if there is one.”

The letter ended with that. The final time they’d hear from their son. They imagined how it’d have been for him during his final moments. Had he tried to call out? Had he laid still? Had he cried? Had he smiled? Had he felt pain? Or peace? They’d never know.

Tears welled in their eyes. The emotionally cold and numb man hugged his wife and cried like a baby.

Two minutes later, they were called from the counter.

The body was released from the morgue. It was time to take him home.

He was smiling. 

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