Journey by Indu Balakrishnan

She was speechless. The doctor looked at her with sympathy. The kindest thing was to be silent as well, while she took in the news. Sandhya looked back into his eyes. But she was not seeing anything. She did not see the tears that swam and threatened to pour out. Doctors did not display sympathy beyond a certain amount. Doctors needed to be the pillar of courage to make sure that they could support the patient in every way possible.

But this was no ordinary doctor-patient relationship. Sandhya was in the clinic of the best doctor she knew. The only one who knew her since she was born. The only one who watched the symptoms but could not diagnose the root cause until it was too late. The only one who had the courage to tell her that she had three months to live. 

Sandhya snapped out of her thoughts and looked into her father’s eyes. Dr.Swamy had to be professional. The nurse was in the room looking at the two of them, watching the silent communication. Picking up the report, Sandhya politely thanked Dr.Swamy and left. There was nothing more to be said. Whatever had to be done could not be done here in the small room. She had to do it herself, on her own time. 

And right now, time was a luxury that she did not have. 

Sandhya went home calmly and placed the reports on her table. There was no point in reading them anymore. Her verdict was out. She knew that the destination was arriving sooner than she thought. Now, all she had to do was understand how she would spend the next three months. She had a choice. She could either live her life in misery or make the most of it. 

She heard the car in the driveway. Her father was home. Quickly she washed her face and rearranged her expression. She could only do so much. Dinner was a silent affair. They spoke about the weather and the food and how the neighbour’s dog would not stop barking. Dr.Swamy was at home, and he was her father here. He did not want to talk about what transpired at the clinic. The biopsy was the last thing they wanted to talk about. 

The next morning, Sandhya got up earlier than usual. It was still dark. But then, so was her future. She did not want to get too melodramatic about it. She put on her shoes and stepped out. After a few basic stretches, Sandhya started to jog. She left her iPod at home. Today, she did not want the music. She tried to pay attention to her thoughts, feelings, and emotions. She could not do it at home. Her father would see it. She could not do it at work. Highly unprofessional. 

Sandhya got into a steady pace and soon was running without paying attention to where she was going. She let her muscle memory decide the route. Today was an important morning. She had to decide how to take care of her father. She wanted to make sure that he had a good life when she was no longer there to look after him. 

Her journey was coming to an end, but that did not mean that she could not take care of him. Sandhya’s mother had succumbed to the same thing. Tumour in the brain. She had the same signs. Blinding headaches. Unreasonable fatigue. But Sandhya ignored the warnings. She did not tell her father until it was too late. Whether it was denial or planned strategy, she could not tell anymore. 

Sandhya had been a fantastic daughter and a fabulous lawyer. At the age of 25, she had reached heights beyond what anyone could have expected. But today, it was not about her anymore. It was about her father. And his journey without her. 

After three hours of pondering, Sandhya found herself back at the doorstep. She entered the door to find the table decorated with her favourite breakfast. Pancakes and maple syrup. She took a quick shower and joined her dad for breakfast. 

It was time to have the talk. And today, it was time for her to step up and be the parent. It was time for her to talk about his journey. He had been her guiding light all her life. He was always there for her. He had always made sure that her dreams and her aspirations were met. 

Now, It was Sandhya’s turn to talk about his future journey. 

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