According to her parents, I was one of the very few people she was allowed to have sleepovers with. Unknown to us, this was our last sleepover ever. We talked about music, boys, and other things girls talked about to catch up. She told me how things were unfolding with her health, and then she asked me:
“And you? How are things?”
“Things are good,” I said.
” And healthwise?” she insisted.
The question struck me. Since I got sick last year, I’ve been thinking about this conversation over and over. I can’t imagine how she felt about the pain, the risks, the dependency, the fact that life was not going to be as long as it should… No wonder she was so mature.
When we were 15, she didn’t need any aid to walk. We even went clubbing a few times. She seemed to be in control. Then one day, things changed. She got really sick, even fell into a coma, and it was never fully the same again. Yet she fought. She aced her fashion design courses, painted a mural for her school, released her comic book, had many many friends and a great relationship. NOTHING would prevent Sonia Chan Tin from living life to its fullest. She was even going to make my album artwork. I’ll attach the drafts tomorrow (I don’t have my hard drive).
When we were around 21, I wasn’t afraid to walk from College to Lawrence. I even went clubbing a few times. My cardiologist said I could now do anything like a normal person. Then one day, things changed. My heart was failing, I couldn’t breathe and I fainted. I had an open-heart surgery. It was never fully the same again. I’m not sure I fought nearly as much as she did, but I put on a decent fight. I still can’t run for more than 2 min, I need more rest than I ever used to. But that’s nothing in comparison… When we were 21, she left.
I used to barely have to think about my health, except when I have infections. Her story was different. Sometimes the veins would burst, sometimes her legs would hurt. It could be anytime, anywhere. No plan was final until the day of, I think. Everything depended on how she felt that day. During that conversation, it really hit me: I was very lucky. I admired her for not letting her condition dictate her abilities. She was an artist, she had published a book (and sold all of them), she’d bring handmade gifts whenever she’d come over, she was pretty much adored by everyone.
I’ve been thinking about this conversation. Health really is everything. How long will I have it for? How fast will it go away?
I keep thinking about this conversation. Over and over.