“It’s lung cancer.” The doctor’s statement brought waves of disbelief over me. The drizzles of sorrow turned into relentless rain, and I hugged my aunt, as if keeping her afloat, reminding her that I would not let her drown.
“Is there anything we can do about it?” I asked desperately.
“Well there is chemotherapy, but…” the doctor hesitated, “your aunt isn’t covered by insurance, so it’s going to weight out to about a hundred grand.” The waters of reality rushed into my body. I had a hundred grand- it was my college savings.
“I’lll pay for it, don’t worry about it Aunt Faith.”
I was trying so hard to appear as if my head was above the waters, but I was breaking ever so slowly.
The beaches of Belitung are known to be peaceful. At the tender age of six, they were my second home.
“Aunt Faith, aren’t you coming to swim?” I asked excitedly.
“You go in first Nasir!” My aunt was an unbreakable guardian, regardless of tides of struggle. Under her eyes, I would never be in harm. I waddled in the water with my tiny feet.
I laid on my back and looked up at the clear blue sky. It felt like I was on top of the world.
And then, it began to rain.
“I don’t want you on anything illegal trying to get money for chemo. That’s not how I raised you.” My aunt was worried.
“Don’t worry Aunt Faith, nothing’s illegal about my savings.” I reassured her. My aunt seemed satisfied, until she realised what ‘savings’ I was talking about.
“No, no, no. You are not using your college savings.”
“It’s fine, Aunt Faith.” I tried to sound confident, as if I had everything under control.
“Son, I’m not about to let you let go of your future. I’m not going to let you drown in poverty because you don’t have an education.”
“I’M GIVING YOU A SECOND CHANCE AUNT FAITH, BE GRATEFUL.” I had lost my temper. My love had turned into a thunderstorm. My aunt was speechless.
The cloud opened fire, unleashing bullet after bullet of rain. My eyes were blinded, my body flailing.
“AUNT FAITH-” My head fell under the water. The waves quickened, the sky turned grey, the tides overcame me. I threw my limbs tirelessly to no avail.
“NASIR, WHERE ARE YOU?” My aunt screamed. My head bobbed on the surface of the water, my mouth wide open, gasping for air. Instead, seawater was all that gushed in.
“AUNT FAITH!” I cried, “HELP ME!” The waters were relentless. The rain suffocated me.
“NASIR, DON’T WORRY, I’M HERE.” My aunt hoisted me on her back, and swam towards the shore. While it was still raining heavily, the raging waters of my mind were replaced by a peaceful lake. We were going through hell, but it felt like heaven. On my aunt’s back, no tides were to strong to bring me down.
“I don’t need a second chance.” My aunt broke the silence.
“Aunt Faith, you gave me a second chance at life, now let me do the same to you.” I was firm in my decision, I knew exactly what was more important to me.
“No, Nasir. If throwing away your first and only chance at success is what it takes, I don’t want it. I’ve lived my life, I’ve fought my fight. I’ve done everything I wanted to do. I don’t need a second chance.” My tears fell like rain, as I realised the sheer depths of my aunt’s love.
“I raised a kind and loving son. The rest of the world needs someone like you. Don’t worry about me.”
I held my aunt’s hand tightly. Raging seas were merely serene lakes to my strong aunt.