I am writing after many days this time. I had promised you on my twelfth birthday that form now on I will talk to you every day. And now I am about to turn thirteen and writing after so much time. But you do not know what trouble all of us have gone through in the past few months. Mike, who just entered graduate school, met with an accident three months back. I still remember each and every detail of the day when he was coming out of a taxi with a group of friends, and as he crossed the road, were struck by a car driven by a drunk teenager.
All of us were really worried about him and I don't think there was a single day mom did not spent crying. Dad was a support, strong and quiet. He kept trying to make both of us laugh with his old army days' jokes. But you know what, I saw him one Saturday, with tears in his eyes, sitting in the garage among Mike's childhood toys. To see dad who has been a pillar for all of us throughout, breaking down, has been one of the worst things in my life.
We had almost lost hope when the doctor had told us on that fateful day three months back, that there was hardly any chance of Mike surviving. He said that the survival rate for such people was abysmally low. Mike had suffered significant brain damage and orthopaedic injuries. And adding to that, there were blockages in his carotid arteries. The surgery took close to 30 hours. Mom and I sat huddled together on the bench outside the operation room. Dad kept pacing up and down the corridor, all the time. He said he was sure of the doctor's expertise, but every now and then I could see him, whispering a silent prayer and then wiping off a little tear-drop from his cheeks.
Mike survived, but the post-accident traumatic impact was so much on him that he stopped speaking, walking or even opening his eyes. I asked everyone a lot about what had happened, but nobody told me anything. I requested him to speak with me or atleast look at me. But I knew that he was still mad at me for telling mom about his late night parties. Then one day a nurse secretly told me that Mike has gone in a "coma" and he was in a very critical state. That explained the death-like silence at home, which had started haunting me now. So much so that I had started dreading going home after school. Mom never talked. She just went about her work mechanically as if she were a robot. Dad spoke at times but only when it was absolutely essential.
I visited Mike everyday on my way home from school. I just sat looking at him for sometime, and then quietly walked home. One day, while walking towards his room, I saw a man dressed in white clothes looking at Mike's door. I had never seen him before. Though mom, dad and Mike always scold me for speaking with strangers, I still went up to him and smiled. He looked at me for a moment, and then turned away. But I had seen such foreigners before. They seem snooty at first, but at the end they all like talking to little girls with freckles and pony-tails, as they tell me. :) So I said to him, "Hey mister, are you looking for somebody? You can ask me, I have been coming to this place for quite some time now and almost know all the patients. They are all my friends."
He seemed quite shocked at this and I didn't understand why. He started walking towards Mike's room. Interested, I walked faster and caught up with him. Seeing me approaching him, he said, "I don't need your help, I know everything, I come here everyday." But by then I was already wondering about something else, "Hey, you look like my uncle Peter. He stays in Texas. Are you a relative of his who has come to visit Mike?" "Go away kid, I am in a hurry." He snapped at me. Though very scared, I smiled but could not keep it for long, and could soon feel tears rolling down my eyes. He finally softened and bent down to pick me up. He held me in his laps. "Do not cry kid. I did not mean to hurt a little pretty girl like you. What's your name?"
By the end of two hours, me and D uncle (that's what he was called, he told me) had become the best friends in the world. He was really delighted to hear about the third prize I had won in the inter class painting competition, but laughed aloud when I told him that only four students had participated. He smiled throughout when I was telling him how Katie and I spent our lunch breaks on the swings, when the other kids were having food, or how our teacher had to make us sit in different corners so that we could stop talking.
Then, suddenly at once he leapt up and looked extremely worried. He said he had an urgent work to be completed, and was already late for it. But I was in no mood to let go of such a good listener. Since the time mom and dad had stopped showing interest in my stories, and Katie had changed school, I had nobody to talk with. So we went on talking. Finally he said that it was too late and the work could not be done now as the 'deadline' had been crossed, so he had to leave. I had pestered him for so many things in the past few hours, that I thought best to keep quiet now.
Before he was leaving, he gave me a tight hug and said that he will remember his sweet 'friend' forever, that was me. I beamed and told him that he could visit me anytime at my house on Edge Hill. He said that he did not like visiting people he loved. That was one of the most surprising things I had heard, and told him that he should not think like that. People he loves will like listening from him. He almost had a scorn on his face when he said before bidding me goodbye, "Nobody like listening from me."
I never saw my dear friend again. Actually the month that followed was so busy that I did not even have the time to look for him. Mike had started healing, as the doctor said, almost miraculously. He opened his eyes after a week. By the end of the second week, he was talking, walking and eating. Now Mike has come home, and the doctor says he can join college , the next month. I have never seen dad so happy. He keeps hopping from place to place, unable to contain his joy. And anything said about mom's happiness would be less. She never lets Mike go out of her sight even once.
I am very happy that all is well at home. Though I miss Katie very much. And I miss uncle D. I want to share this joy with him, and I am sure he will smile in the same grand way at it. Since the last one week, I have been thinking of uncle D, and wishing that he would come to meet me again. I don't know who he was or why he went to the hospital every day or why the nurse at the hospital went by him as if there was nobody standing there. But I know that he is my best friend. I wish he soon comes to meet me. If you see him somewhere, tell him I need him.