Born in the Summer

This story is about the unfortunate life of a young girl who had to be battling a terminal illness. I met her when I took part in a volunteer job in a hospital. The life was not fair to her, she - a pretty girl - was not able to cope with that illness and left this world on the day she was full 20. The story of her life drained my tears. I decided to write it down by full of my heart. Hope you guys read the story attentively.
Many thanks!

Hanoi, 17 August 2011

A summer came, my birthday also came, but my life was reduced by one more year. I looked at the left-over-features of a crying child in the face that has changed over time. I laughed. My point-finger moved along my lips with a bright and fresh smile. There was an evil guy used to tell my mom that I would die when I would be full 20. That sinister fortune teller with the philosophy of the realm of ignorance made my mom worried a lot. At that time, I only was two years old. And then, I was about to turn 20, my smile was still unaffected; however, my mother was in somewhere very far away from me. She was tired of her worries, she arrived in a sunny place, left me and my father in this life. But if the saying of the fortune teller had been true, I would have met my mother when I would be full 20.

"You should love so much, love so much until you are not in this world anymore, you will not remorse for anything because the love makes our world. Despite all circumstances, you do not allow to end the love in your heart." - The last letter from my great mother.

I was very simple, was a gentle girl of meadow, but my father took me out of there. I and he arrived in Hanoi without my mother.  An odd separation! Wind, sunshine, and fields - people often say that as a perfect triad. Wind, sunlight, and dust - a common triad in that noisy and crowded city. People did not realize, they just rush forward. We lived in a small house on the edge of the prosperous, ancient, and taciturn Hanoi. Hanoi in my mind was never happy, only a blooming new love. Hanoi was so beautiful, so flashy, so crowded, and so lively. I liked Hanoi as the philosophy: People love people in the same place, and people love that place they live; however, I loved the place I was born more than anywhere. My place, where there were the magnificent chants about flower fields, winds of the steppes, and sunshine, was very far from that city. Far from winds of the West Lake, the sunshine of Hoan Kiem Lake, and the ancient Old Quarter. Everything was only memories in my mind because I had no reason to go back my place anymore.

- "What I need to do now, dad?"
- "Let the life flow as it is!"

My father was a person of very few words. He did not have the enthusiasm to live like my mother, but they were still a harmonious combination of their fates. They fell in love and were married on the grassland, and then I was born. I was proud of that love. My mom loved much enough to go far away from the world with the huge love of my father to her. How about me? I could not love so much like my mother used to. I did not sure if there were any men out there were ready to love a girl who was dying. And I did not have the courage to love and count my death day at the same period.

When I was 10 years old, blood started flowing from my nose. What was that illness? No one knew. Left my home, I went to a lot of places with my mother. They gave me many kinds of medicine to prolong my life, but no one could be certain that I would be alive so long. When I was 12 years old, my mother took me to the fortune teller we met when I was 2 years old. The second time in my life,  he said firmly that I would die when I would be full 20 years old. He laughed and said I should accept that for spiritual power saying, not him. While all white-suit-monks, brown-suit-healers, and modern doctors tell they would try their best, that fortune teller said solidly as the rule of the God that on the day I would be full of 20 years old, I would leave this world.

My mother cried, then her mighty vitality got her up later. She was a woman who believed in Buddhism and always believed in the psychic, as well as believing in divination totally, but she still tried to be strong to take care of me. My father was not same, he suffered that pain on each wrinkle of his face. I had a nosebleed regularly for five years, so I had to be treated with pills. They were used for healing but damaged my liver, therefore I was very slim.

When I was 17, my mom had a pain in her chest. My dad brought her to Hanoi, and also to me - a weak 17 teenage girl who could not self-take-care-of. She still smiled and did not care the pain. She said I had to keep fighting because her pain was a share for the pain of mine. They examined her for a diagnosis and put her in the operating room. One month after the surgery, she departed this world. My family, then only me and my father, both of us did not cry, try to hold back to not cry. She fought against her illness without any tears, therefore we had to smile to let her go peacefully, even though we all were heartbroken. Let she lie down in the grass field with sunshine and winds of the steppe, let she enjoy the good odor of grasses, and get a good sleep.

A year later, I and my father moved to Hanoi to live. He returned to be an engineer - the job he quitted when he married my mom, to live in the place of peace with winds and sunshine. He told me we should live in Hanoi to be more convenient in the treatment of my illness. I understood him but I did not want to left my mom. Suddenly, one night, she was back in my dream. She smiled and talked to me that I should go with my dad, I had to continue to fight until I could not continue, I had to fight even without her. I lived in Hanoi, I was too difficult to go to school, my health did not allow to do. When my mom was alive, she taught me. When I lost her, no one did that anymore.

When I was 19, Hanoi was still not fun much. Every afternoon, my dad wheeled me several rounds around Hoan Kiem Lake. I really liked contemplating Hoan Kiem Lake and enjoy the cool breeze from it. One day, my dad hired a personal nurse to look after me. When my dad was busy with his job, the nurse wheeled me around Hoan Kiem Lake. But it did not mean my dad forgot his "mission". Although he was busy, he still tried to wheel me once - on Saturday every week.

I was born in the summer. The summer of steppe was so blazing and windy. Until I moved to Hanoi, I discovered winter. The winter of Hanoi was a lovely love song that made me huddled myself under the cold and foggy afternoon. I was interested in winter when the blood from my nose did not flow out fast and thick because of the coldness. Besides that, the blood from my nose spilled out like saliva of a child. Nearly two years in Hanoi, I passed two winters, I also looked forward to and welcomed the winter exultantly. I loved it extremely much. Yet, the summer came. I was nearly 20 years old. Although I struggled with the disease tenaciously, my health was getting worse. If I was able to survive until next winter, wasn't me? My hairs were long but sparse. They were not like on a head of a person with cancer, but they were very weak like the last autumn leaves.

My dad was at home when I was thinking. My caregiver also arrived, he was a man, that was not right. The nurse who usually took care of me did not visit me on that day, and the man next to me looked as old as my dad. He said that man was a doctor who would look after me that month. My dad was still obsessed by the number 20. He worried because there was only one more month and there was a high probability that I would die, so he hired a personal doctor to take care of me at home, that should be really costly. The nurse still visited me every day like my dad said but she took leave one day that day. About the doctor, I suspected he was a psychiatrist, he did not give me any medical attention, just talked to me every day to try to encourage me to continue to keep fighting harder. The nurse became more and more strange, she usually gave me flowers then arranged flowers all over my house and smiled whenever I asked her. Everything was too thoughtful and kind seemed that they were preparing for my death day.

One more week later, my birthday would come. The weakness was the easiest thing I felt. The last time which the nurse wheeled me around Hoan Kiem Lake was an impromptu arrangement, like a piece of Jazz music. She wheeled me in silence, I also kept silent, only looked at the lake. There was someone appeared from behind me, gave me a bunch of white roses. I looked back, that was not my nurse, that was a man, a totally strange man. I quieted, I was sure that situation was not a random. So marvelous! Although I had not gone to school for 19 years, only read books and looked at the world with my hollow eyes as if to close them, I understood there were not many accidental chances. My dad wanted me to love someone and that guy came to me under the coordination from my dad in the last days of my life. My mom also wanted me to love so much, love deeply before I died, didn't she?

- "Thank you very much, nice flowers!" - I said
He only nodded without saying anything

The nurse smiled and told me that guy was a mute. She apologized me then explained that that man was her younger brother, he knew me from the narrative of her. He has quietly learned about me during two years, therefore he wanted to give me a gift for my birthday celebrated next week. I was surprised, suddenly smiled to him. The accidental appearance of the first man in my life was so fun. I did not tell that to my dad because he was involving in building a construction site very far from the city and he would go home before my birthday one day, he promised like that. I did not complain about anything because I knew he was working very crazy, very hard to earn a lot of money to pay for the treatment of mine. I said to the nurse that I wanted to see her younger brother more often.

There were only five days that I would be 20. Every day, in the afternoon, the man came to me with a different type of flowers each time. He also replaced his sister to wheel me around Hoan Kiem Lake. He understood me when I talked, but when he talked, exactly when he expressed his sayings on hands, I could not understand. I had to put all my strength into those expressions, thus I decided that we would stay at home and "communicated" by paper. I would like to understand and see the heart of that stranger, but I was too weak to hold a pen to write, so I talked to him and he wrote then rose it up for me to read. He wrote that he should read stories to me while I was in bed like people often did when taking care of a sick person, but he was only able to write down.

- "I see you are fairly handsome. You are also friendly."
Then he smiled
- "Can you please teach me how to communicate by hand?"
He wrote: "There are some other better ways to communicate than by hand, such as communication by eyes!"
I told him my longing to see more winters. He wrote that he could see that in my eyes.
- "Can I be alive and pass the winter this year?"
He smiled then pointed to his eyes, I saw in them the answer: "Sure!"
- "Are you the last man in my life?"
He raised two of his fingers, put them together, smiled then shook his head.
- "You do not know?"
He turned my attention to his eyes seemed to tell me: "No, I know that! You will be alright!"
I smiled then fell asleep. The nurse and the doctor rarely participated in our stories. They had a problem had to care that was the treatment of mine. They usually appeared with their smiles, injection needle and medicine.

 My yearning to be welcome the next winter suddenly became distant. I realized that during the whole week, in spite of painfulness, I did not think about the death anymore. I still lived like I will be alive and  I would be healed soon. Learning how to communicate with the eyes made me forgot my illness. I was born in the summer, but I preferred the winter and loved living with that chilly weather to be happy.

"A girl of the summer, desires the winter,
 A girl of the summer, brings sunshine to the winter."

Mid-night, the night when I was 20. Everyone sat around me and my wheelchair. There were the doctor, the nurse, the handsome guy, my gentle dad, and I also saw my mom - the late woman. Mom looked at me, smiled and hugged me tightly.

There was saying from somebody, noisy and panic: "Do not close your eyes, please open your eyes to communicate to me with your eyes. Please do not close your eyes. The most amazing language is the language of your soul, and your eyes are the windows of your soul. Please open them. Please tell me that you will live with very more winters. Please open your eyes!"