Water, Please?

Life had unfolded in front of Sade’s eyes as she saw her friend bid his last good-bye to her. She was an assistant nurse in the operating room that day. Nobody knows when life throws a surprise or climax. One thing she knew is that she wanted to be a better person better than she will ever be, better than her friend’s expectations about her. She wanted a life without regrets. That, she learned from her dearest friend.

Sade’s friend, Jonathan, wanted her to become a doctor.He knew she had the potentials. Jonathan met Sade in Senior Secondary as he joined a junior paramedic organization where she was the leader. Back then, Jonathan thought Sade will become a nurse. Sade helps in events where she was an aide to younger students. She does not only assist students in going to the health clinic, but she helps younger students in personal matters, where wounds are much deeper than what the naked eye could see. Sade talks to everyone as if they have been  friends for a long time. Jonathan was a witness to it. Yet, Sade does not have a constant group of friends. She enjoys the company of Jonathan only. She is used to working and enjoying alone. True enough, the friendship of Jonathan and Sade surpassed ten years. But as common in other relationships too, their friendship came to a quiet time when Sade became busy with work and Jonathan was not able to keep in touch. For more than six months, they were not able to communicate. What could have been the reason? Will their friendship change?

Chapter 1 Drink More Water, Please?

Sade was the leader of the Paramedic Organization in Anjorin Senior Secondary School. It was very hot that day when Sade and her team were patrolling in the school for the clubs and organizations campaign. She wanted more members to join the school’s paramedic organization. She wanted more students to know the basics to help other people in times of disasters. Sade thinks it is important to prepare alone to help more people.

As she prepared her materials, she asked her team: “Ready to look for more life-savers?” The other students, mostly seniors, smiled and laughed as they knew Sade was very passionate. The professor-in-charge of the clubs and organizations visited their room to see their materials. “Isn’t that water too heavy?” the professor asked. Sade motioned to her companions, “We can carry it. It is fine.” She thought about giving free water as a unique campaign on drinking enough amount of clean and safe water.

The bell rang and students went inside their lecture rooms for the talk. It was time for Sade’s team  short talk. “Why don’t we start by drinking water?” She instructed her team to distribute bottles of water to each student. “What a pleasant day to start and save lives! Yes, you heard it. By drinking at least eight glasses of clean water a day, your life is being saved.” Sade was confident. The students listened as she talked about their organization’s aims and goals. As soon as she finished, one student raised his hand and asked, “Can I join your team?” Sade answered, “Yes, of course. That is why we are here. For more life-savers to join us. But just a favor…drink more water, please? Seems like you need more.” Sade’s team laughed as they went outside the room. “I am Jonathan. I may look pale but I wanted to know the basics in hygiene, first aid, and more.” Sade heard Jonathan as she smiled back to him, “See me at the organization’s office downstairs.”

Sade remembered Jonathan’s face that day. She knew they will get along well. Who would have thought their friendship will last for more than ten years? She knew Jonathan will leave a mark on her life forever.

Chapter 2 Water, Please? I Need One

Sade was surprised by a call in one of her hectic and busy days. Juggling with the hospital records, getting ready for major operations (as the tools are being prepared by her),  assisting patients in the ward, and assisting doctors for the records, Sade tries to be healthy inside and out as much as possible. By this, it means keeping her emotions stable as well for the tasks at hand. She keeps her diet clean and body fit by walking and running during her break time. Not to mention, her long hours standing and walking around the hospital during her duty.

The phone rang two to three times in her pocket as Sade finished updating the records of patients in the ward. She kept the records in the cabinet and changed her shoes to sandals as she prepared to leave the hospital. She double-checked the clock that shows 5:30 which means, it is time to go home. Sade forgot about the phone call but as soon as she stepped outside, she touched her phone in her pocket. “Not again.” Sade always misses a call every time she is on-duty. Checking her pocket means deducting worthwhile minutes to her precious time. Time is of the essence!

The missed call showed an unknown number. It was followed by a text message from the same number. Sade sat on a bench a few steps away from the hospital while waiting for a ride home. As soon as she opened the message, the first line made her freeze to her seat. Sade felt a bit dizzy and cold as the wind brushed through her shoulder. “Hi, Sade. My days are almost over. Please give me a call or let us have lunch outside. -Jonathan.” The message was as simple as a plain text on a prescription pad but as meaningful as the result of each laboratory test to a patient’s family.

Sade held her mobile phone tightly as she recalled the last day she saw Jonathan. “Oh, dear. It was almost a year ago,” she mumbled to herself. A year can do so much in the life of a person. Similarly, sometimes minutes of waiting may seem like a year for another person. As Sade kept thinking about Jonathan, tears were flowing from her eyes which she was not aware of. A passerby asked, “Lady, are you alright?” Sade replied, “No…not really…I think I need something…” The passerby, a woman, asked again to help, “What do you need which I can give to you immediately, dear?” Seeing the water bottle held by the woman, Sade spoke her request to the woman in a shaky and distressed tone, “Do you have some…some water, please? Please I need one.”

Sade met Jonathan at a time where she was very hopeful about the future. Her dreams and ambitions were all she ever aimed for. Preparing for her dreams was like the water flowing from the river. Flowing as if it will not dry out. She wanted her plans to roll out perfectly that is why she prepares for everything as early as possible even if it means sacrificing simple joys and rewards.

Chapter 3 One Cannot Pour Water From An Empty Cup

Sade dreamed of becoming a nurse since the Senior Secondary level. Joining the Paramedic Organization, she was already exposed to medical terms and basic first aid. She knew what to do during disasters. After she graduated from Secondary School, she eventually applied for a degree in Nursing Sciences. Sade worked hard. Long nights reading books, coffee spills, sacrificed moments meeting new friends, and living the adventurous life as a teen. She did not regret any of it. She knew she was doing everything right for her dreams.

In everything she did in her life, Jonathan stood by her side. Cliché as it may seem, Jonathan became her best companion, a best friend. Some acquaintances thought Jonathan to be Sade’s boyfriend or admirer but he laughs through all the teasing. Jonathan knew he is comfortable assisting Sade and he sees himself to be motivated by her. He supports Sade as he admires her will and courage, her determination in the field she chose. He wanted to be like Sade, firm, and passionate about her career. Jonathan took a course in Engineering and finished it with flying colors. He was inspired to be the best he can be. He seemed to like Engineering as well because of his exposure to his father’s construction company when he was a child. He shared this dream with Sade. He knew he could get inspirational wisdom from her.

As Sade remembered all her memories of Senior Secondary, she drank the water given by the woman. She was not able to make a reply to the unknown number as she cannot believe what she saw. She sipped water from the bottle. Sade thought maybe…just maybe…someone took her number and gave it away. Maybe the message was mis-sent, maybe it was for another person but one number was changed. She drank water from the bottle. This time, half of the water can be seen inside the bottle. Sade thought. “I do not have so many friends. I do not even have time to wander with my schedule in the hospital.” She drank water again, but this time was a big gulp. Three drops left inside the bottle. “I should call immediately. This is not a good joke. Maybe this is an emergency by whoever it is.” Sade rode public transportation going home. As soon as she arrived at her house, she removed her things and took a shower as a safety protocol. After this, she replied to the text message, “Can I call you, please? -Sade.”

While waiting for the reply, Sade reminisced and thought about her life. She was living away from her parents since college and stayed in a dormitory for work. She almost always lived alone. Maybe that is another reason why she did not have many friends. Sade did not experience unforgettable bonding with a group of friends or a night out. All she did was study, work, and study. She then realized, “I guess, I was living an empty life just to chase for my dreams.” As soon as she was about to breakdown, her phone sounded on a new message. It read: “I do not want a call. Let us have dinner.” From this point on, she knew it was Jonathan.  Indeed, for more than ten years, they have been a family, knowing each others’ secrets, being familiar with their mannerisms, memorizing common lines and statements. She was very sure.

The message was followed by a name of a restaurant together with a complete address as well as the contact number to confirm that the reservation and meeting place was real. She called and true enough, it was real. It is Jonathan who reserved the place. Sade thought, maybe Jonathan wanted to say something. “I should prepare.”

She ought to prepare her mind as she knew Jonathan very well. She knows that Jonathan scolds her most of the time for not resting. “You cannot pour water from an empty cup, Sade. You cannot help many people if you are tired or not feeling well,” Jonathan’s voice resounds in her head.

Chapter 4  My Cup is Full

Sade went to the place Jonathan sent to her. It is a simple and cozy place where they can have coffee or tea while talking. Close to nature with the plants and trees surrounding the area. As she came from her duty in the hospital, Sade sighed in relief as she saw Jonathan from afar. Tall as he is, Jonathan seemed to have lost weight with a prominent jawline and skinny forearm. His pale skin never changed. Sade smiled as she waved.

“I am very happy to see you again. Are you happy?” Jonathan asked. As Sade sat down on the chair, she replied, “I am also happy to see you,” Jonathan seconded, “That is not my question. Are you really happy?” Sade laughed and paused. She knew Jonathan’s questions are harder than a doctor’s questions about medicines. “Well, I am tired. I was thinking about our lives before…” she replied. “It was easier before, isn’t it? But I knew you were fit for that career.” Jonathan proudly said. “I know. Thanks for pushing me.” Sade replied. There was silence as they looked around the place. The wind blew in response with the silence thrown by the two. “Shall we take a look at the menu here, this is nice,” Sade asked. “I am dying, Sade. I want to spend the rest of my days enjoying my life to the fullest and I want it to share with you. My family is already burdened and I also requested this.” Jonathan shared the sad news with Sade. He handed over his laboratory tests and diagnosis with shaky hands. He smiled but with tears in his eyes as he narrated how time seemed to fly fast after he knew he was terminally ill. Jonathan had leukemia ever since. Sade could not believe what she read. She cried all night with him at the restaurant. She asked questions that were clouding her mind and hiding the fact that Jonathan has little time. She felt guilty about not keeping in touch with him for months as she was busy with work. She felt disappointed with herself as she was not able to continue to be a doctor as Jonathan dreamed. The thoughts were interfered with by Jonathan’s answers and stories. Sade listened as she also smiled and laughed while reminiscing the past. She spent dinner time with Jonathan with mixed emotions.

Jonathan was happy and satisfied as he drove Sade home and bid a temporary goodbye to her. “See you tomorrow, Sade. My cup is full tonight.” Sade smiled as she reminded him to rest well and that, she will ask the supervising nurse if she can rest for two or three days. As soon as Jonathan’s car started, she went inside her house feeling down but contented. She felt strong for Jonathan. Sade realized a lot of things because of Jonathan. One of which is, everyone needed to fill their cup to help more and share more. Sade slept smiling as she breathed deeply and calmly.

Chapter 5 Water is Important

It was a Sunday morning when Sade woke up to five messages from the supervising nurse. It was about her previous tasks all done and prepared for. The second message was about her upcoming tasks and the scholarship from the hospital she did not apply for. The third message was about a missing record but was able to retrieve it. The fourth was about resting and enjoying her days off and the final message was about applying for the hospital’s scholarship by the medicine and surgery department.

Sade replied to her supervisor, “Thank you so much. These are all noted.” She smiled as she had sent a message to Jonathan as well, “Do not be stubborn. Drink lots of water to keep you hydrated as we will have a long walk. See you in a while.” Sade prepared for a short walk and lunch for Jonathan. She cooked a meal with vegetables and sliced fruits as well. She planned to have a walk in the park with trees and eat the prepared meal under a tree for fresh air.

Jonathan arrived at Sade’s home as he picked her up. They laugh at each other just like in the past and strolled around while listening to music. As soon as they arrived at the park, Sade brought all the things needed and let Jonathan walk properly. “Ah, this feels good. You are serving me well.” He chuckled. “You are something. If not for your weak muscles, I will not carry this. But thanks, I get to rest for days because of you.” Sade replied while carrying baskets of food and water.

They sat down under the tree as the wind of fresh air blew. Sade talked about missing everything. Jonathan interrupted as he told Sade, “If you are going to cry and be sad today or the coming days, do not talk to me anymore. Please, let us talk about your dreams and plans. Make sure you accomplish them.” Sade smiled and wipes a droplet of tear on the sides of her eyes. “Well, actually, I still want to become a doctor but I am too busy to learn.” She replied. “Don’t you have a scholarship thing in the hospital? Maybe you can apply. Don’t tell me you are tired.” Jonathan insisted. “Oh, you know me well. I do not rest. This has been the best days off I had since…” Sade was interrupted again by Jonathan. “Oh do not tell me since you got the job???” Sade giggled and laughed. Jonathan stated, “Work is important. So is rest. How can you be so stubborn also? One day, you will regret everything you have not done when your time is almost up. Did you not realize this?” Sade replied, “Actually, I have just realized it now. Thank you.”

Sade brought out her phone and messaged the supervising nurse to send the application form for the scholarship. She also told the supervisor that she will prepare for the requirements as soon as she gets back to work.

Jonathan stood up slowly as he felt a bit tired sitting. “Let us walk…but slowly, alright?” Sade assisted him. They walked quietly as they felt comfortable with silence. They reached an old tree and stopped. Jonathan looked up and closed his eyes. Sade also did the same. They smiled at each other as they opened their eyes. “I know you will become a doctor one day. A good one. Please help those people who are in need. Teach younger women. Inspire them to do good… as you do. But, please DO teach them to rest.” Jonathan reminded. “I will. I promise.” Sade held Jonathan’s cold hands in the warm surrounding.

They went back to their lunch area under the tree  for a last time and packed up to go home. Sade offered to drive for Jonathan. He accepted. Jonathan fell asleep during the ride home with the music on.

Chapter 6 An Overflowing Water

Sade was awakened by a loud phone call. She set a ringtone for emergencies from the hospital. It was three in the morning and everything seemed calm and quiet. She was asked to proceed to the hospital as a patient was having trouble breathing and that Sade knows where the records are. She picked herself up and prepared a coffee on the way. She thought, “Just another day.” It was her last day of resting yet an emergency. It seemed a bit short for Sade and Jonathan to meet but Sade seemed better due to the rest period.

As soon as she arrived at the hospital, she checked the ward and emergency room. Sade looked for the supervising nurse and found her in the records room. “Hi, Sade. Can you please look for an Usmani…” Sade replied, “What is the first name? Usmani…” The supervising nurse continued, “It’s Jo-Jo-Jonathan I guess.” Sade fell to her seat as she held her cup of coffee tightly. She cannot believe what she heard. Sade went out to the emergency room. She looked for a familiar face and she saw Jonathan lying down.

Sade thought about her last moments with Jonathan. That morning, she bid her final farewell to Jonathan. She smiled with tears in her eyes as she said her thanks to him.  Nobody knows when life throws a surprise or climax. For Sade, it was the climax. Jonathan was there during the important and life-changing moments in her life. Jonathan inspired, motivated, and supported her more than anyone else.

Just as Jonathan left, Sade received the news that will change her life forever. “You’re application was accepted in this Institution. Welcome aboard future Doctor!” Sade passed the scholarship application just as Jonathan imagined it to be. Sade cried with tears of joy as well as sadness. She knew she cannot share the news with Jonathan anymore. She is happy. Genuinely happy.

Sade took another break from the hospital as she asked the supervising nurse. The supervisor accepted her application for days off again to prepare herself for medical school. She walked through the park before going home as she reminisces the moments with Jonathan. She thought, “It was you who pushed me to this but I am happy that you did. I just wish you can see all of these accomplishments. How I wish you were here. You were the best person in my world.” Sade cried long and hard for the first time. She spent the afternoon in her uniform at the park, under an old tree thinking about the rest of her life.

Being a nurse and saving lives is a tough job but a fulfilling one. For Sade, it was more than a job. It was her life. She wanted to further this life and save more lives by becoming a doctor. Like an overflowing river, Jonathan’s inspirations and motivations will always leave a mark in the life of Sade. She will achieve more. She could do anything as Jonathan believed. Sade believed in that too as she inspired more aspiring students since senior secondary school. The world needs more Sade who have the will and passion to help and Jonathan who motivates and inspires others to reach greater heights.