Tell me, sir, have you left behind a love – male or female, I do not presume to know your preference, although the intensity of your gaze suggests the latter – in your homeland? What would you do for love? Love makes us do strange things. It makes us forget what is right and makes us question every moral fibre in our body.
For how can one truly be happy in life without a love. Love makes us do things we can’t even comprehend.
It changes our perceptions of reality. It changed my perception. Erica’s mind was altered because through her grief. And her first love? His own love blinded him from his illness and made him forget what was real and what was fantasy.
Erica visited yesterday. She was telling me about the new arrival at Princeton. His name is Changez. He’d joined their group. They’re planning a trip to Greece at the end of the year. She was fascinated with him.
He had such a unique perception on the world around him. An outsider living in America, yet according to her, he held no resentment or contempt to being disadvantaged to us.
There is a new doctor walking around. He seems different from the rest. He appears to come from a Middle Eastern country, with the tan of his skin. Normally I wouldn’t notice or even take a second glance. But hearing Erica describe the fascinating man in her class has made me more curious of anybody who is clearly not from America.
He is similar to the man she describes. He has the same welcoming look that she said draws everyone in. Maybe they all have that power.
He is always walking around my corridor, looking inside the rooms. Sometimes I’ll turn my head and see him, standing outside my door. His presence is unnerving and occasionally he comes in when he thinks I am asleep. The other day, he spoke to me. Asked personal questions that set me on edge. His questions orientated around my love life. Erica. So many questions about Erica. How did he know her? Why did he ask about her? I don’t know. It worries me.
I’ve seen this doctor around more frequently. He claims to be my doctor. I don’t believe him; I don’t trust him. But I have to. He has to be a doctor, right? Erica says we cannot judge them based on our own fear. I am just fearful; I am just scared. I don’t need to be. He is here to help me.
He came in today. More questions. How is Erica, he would say. How close were you to Erica, he asked. His deep brown eyes are warm to look at, luring me in to answer his questions. He speaks with an alluring tone in his voice, making me want to listen. Forcing me to listen. Erica told me not to worry, to give him a chance. I’m just paranoid. He is here to help me.
He had some weird tea and some sticky orange dish with him. Kashmiri tea and Jelebis. He explains they’re from Pakistan – his home country – and urges me to have a taste. Saying they have been used in his country to cure a range of illnesses. Noticing my unease, he claims nothing will happen to me, saying it is not as if it has been poisoned. What an odd statement to make. Maybe the tea can make me feel better.
Although the warm tea and sweet taste of the Jelebis is nice, I am feeling worse by the minute. The questions on Erica keep coming in. More and more. I can’t wrap my head around it. I don’t even know his name. I ask, it’s Changez. Changez. It must be a common name in the Middle East. He looks nervous, but keeps talking, urging me to finish the tea, eat the Jelebis. I feel like crap. Sluggish and immobile. My vision blurs every now and again, but I think nothing of it. I probably just need sleep.
He moves towards the bed, towards me. Folding his hands over one another. Rubbing his palms against his doctors’ coat, he takes a seat at the foot of the bed. His eyes roam over my frail form before he begins to speak. Love makes us do strange things, he starts, it makes us forget what is right and makes us question every moral fibre in our body.
For how can one be truly happy without a love. Where is he going with this? There is a long pause, he just stares at me. He starts up again, this time asking more questions on Erica, then finally the questions stop.
He is still sitting in my room. On my bed, watching me. How do you feel? I feel· tired. The room fades out then in again. What is happening to me? What was in the tea? I start to panic, reaching for the buttons. He pushes them away.
No one can stand in my way anymore, Erica is mine. What? Erica’s love for you will eventually die. This cancer is killing you slowly. If anything, I am speeding the process. Why is he doing this? The room fades out again, but doesn’t fade back in. Erica·
Erica’s past love would eventually die. The cancer was killing him slowly. If anything, I was speeding the process. Making it less painful for him. Less painful for Erica. Nobody should watch a loved one die. Do not be shocked. Try not to be alarmed.
For unless you are truly in that situation, nobody knows what they would do. What actions they would take. Your shrug is inscrutable, but I will be more forthcoming. I did leave behind a love, and her name, if you have not already presumed, was Erica.
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