It took quite a lot of thinking for me to write this post, but I figured it was something worth writing about. I really don't want to be dampening the holiday spirit but anyway ...
I remember a time in my life when I thought myself to be immortal. I drove fast, hell, I raced. I practically drank everyday and if there was no reason to drink, I will invent one. I love taking risks and daring the devil and found myself in situations when I look back on it today, I still cannot imagine how I managed to get out of it unscathed. Maybe some bruising and wounds, but aren't they supposed to be battle scars?
I remember those great fun times and I remember them.
She was envious of the coming out party of a friend. So we said we'll make hers even more fabulous. The theme would be rainbow colours because she loved them all. That night, we all left the party irresponsibly drunk, but we had a driver. She was left behind somehow, so the next best thing to do to catch up with us in the Club we would hit was to ride in a bike. Vivian was really tall, statuesque even, because I remember she towered amongst us girls, and to call her a stunner was an understatement. Something went terribly wrong that night. The bike she shared with her cousin skidded when he tried to maneuver away from a big rock on the road, and she flew out of the bike and hit a tree trunk. We were laughing hysterically over nothing in the bar when the news hit us. On the day of her burial, we let go of a 1000 rainbow coloured butterflies. She never made it to 18 years old.
Olivia had always been goofy looking, but don't let that fool you, she was tops in the Vanity list and her physique was deceiving. We played a mean tandem in the volleyball team. I stopped and tossed, she spiked them hard. She's the only one I know who goes to a parlour before a volleyball match. Win or lose, she was properly coiffed. She loved life and everything beautiful about it. She always said she had something wrong with her blood, but in those days, who believed who? Everything was said in the spirit of jest and good times. One Saturday, I was told that she was rushed to the hospital, yet she was fussing over her manicure. Apparently, she refused to be ushered into the Emergency Room with her manicure colours cracking. We realized then, that her congenital cerebral disease was truly fatal. She died 2 days later. It was quick, too quick. We missed her spot in the Graduation Ball in High School. She wore her prom dress in her wake. She was vain till the end.
Carol and I are speed freaks. We have a need for speed. We both raced in the Circuit. And Carol was a damn good driver. Carol's family is half-Chinese and extremely superstitious. They believed in signs, stars, numerology, astrology, name it. I guess when she was a young kid, Carol always had an illness or was accident-prone during her birthday month. Her parents always managed to tie her down when she was much younger and kept her in detention before she further harms herself every month of September. Some Chinese I have met believe August or September to be the Death Month. She wasn't supposed to drive, but that day, my big brother had the car and he promised to drop me off wherever we would hang out and collect me back when I wanted him too. We needed one more car, Carol, of course, volunteered. It was one more week before her birthday in September. Anna, Frieda and Lourdes rode with her. She was not even driving fast, but the truck driver that hit them from behind probably was. Her car toppled twice and hit the side of the road landing on its top. Anna recalled Carol's voice asking if everyone was alright. Everyone was alright but Carol never made it to the hospital. She died on the spot. She was going to be 21 years old.
I was doing my internship in my graduate school in Psychology when I chanced upon one of my Mom's closest girlfriend, Bernie, in a shopping mall. I have known Aunt Bernie since her kids were babies, Claire and Anton. Anton is a boy genius and I have been cruel enough several times to use him as my lab rat when I was doing my Psychology papers. Claire and I shared a lovely bond, so she took up Psychology because she wanted to be something like me. Aunt Bernie and Claire was out shopping that day, which was the usual time-killing hobby of the people that I call, have tons of money to burn. Claire had just turned 18 and she had a new sports car as a present, and now she wanted to join me in the Special Children's Clinic I was doing internship in, for a paper she had about Autism in her Abnormal Psychology Class. I told her to come over to the Clinic the week after as I will endorse her intent to the Head Clinician. That was October. I never saw her which then I thought was rather odd because Claire sounded so enthusiastic. When December came, one afternoon when I got home, I saw my mother's face fresh with tears and I asked what was wrong. She shakily told me Claire had passed just under a week ago due to some rare viral haemorrhagic fever. I was shocked to say the least. I told my Mother of the brief encounter I had with Claire and Aunt Bernie just a month ago and Claire looked so lovely and healthy. It was completely unbelievable, I said, they lived only 2 blocks away from a good hospital. Apparently, she never took her recurring fevers seriously. (I could swear she felt immortal) By the time they took her to the hospital, she was bleeding in all the holes of her body. I was stumped and completely in denial that the following weekend I drove to their place to check on Aunt Bernie, Anton and Uncle Alex. A caretaker met me at the gate with a Guard. The family had flown to an unknown destination. They left the house, the cars, everything they owned, intact. I was told they just flew with the clothes on their backs and the caretaker has not heard since. I dared a peek and I saw Claire's brand new red Corvette parked in the huge garage along with the other Beamers, Benz and Volvos. So much money and they couldn't save the life of their only daughter. I can only try to feel the agony of being in so much wealth and yet so helpless in the time of death of a loved one. Claire was 18 when she passed and I still remember her bright eyes and very charming smile.
Today, I don't think of myself immortal. I just think I'm blessed and lucky to still be around to enjoy whatever is worth enjoying in this transitory existence. I remember all these girls I have shared my life with and now they are gone; constantly reminding me that I should live my life fully as any time and in any way, it can easily be snatched from my hand. I have so grown up to consider everyday is a day of Thanksgiving. I am thankful I am still alive and whatever it is that is out there I still have to conquer, I will, whilst I still have the time and I still live. Call me foolish, but to everyone who will read this post, Happy Thanksgiving Day!