I just could not tear my eyes away from the empty chair in front of
me. It was just too difficult to concentrate on the task in front of me - my
Chemistry examination. So much has happened in just twenty-four hours.
Twenty-four hours ago, Charles was sitting in front of me, struggling
with the History examination. He was so relieved when the examination
was over. We went to our usual hangout with the gang. He ordered his
usual teh tarik and I noticed that he looked a little under the weather.
brushed it aside as 'exam fever'. Little did I know that it would be the last
time I would see him alive.
Later that night, I received a call from Aunty Grace. She told me
that Charles had been admitted to the hospital for suspected dengue
fever. Then, she paused for what seemed like ages and said in a tearful
voice, "Charles has left us. He slipped into a coma and never regained
consciousness." I do not recall how I spent the rest of the night. I only
remembered calling our friends and we went to Charles's house.
I looked at my friends who were writing furiously and I wondered
whether they were struggling like me. I glanced at my watch and realized
that it was already 10.30 in the morning. We would be going for the
funeral service in about an hour. How was I going to say goodbye to my
dear friend, my mentor and my counselor? He was there for me when
my father passed away three years ago and he had always been like a big
brother to me. I could still hear his jokes, his clowning around with us after
the exam. How could I not know that he was sick?
The examination hall was unusually quiet. Miss Jeya signaled us to
get into her car. Tears blurred my vision. I suddenly remembered the last
time we were together in her car. We were going for a debate and Charles
was our first speaker. He made us laugh at his antics till our sides ached.
At the service, Aunty Grace looked calm as we took our places. Then,
it was time for my presentation. I took a deep breath. I wanted to say a
few words before my song but I choked. Aunty Grace looked at me and
smiled encouragingly. Then, I sang 'Amazing Grace', Charles's favorite
song. "I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see." As my
voice soared, I knew Charles was listening and I felt at peace, Goodbye, my
friend, till we meet again. I shall never forget this day for the rest of my