Once upon a time, there was a girl next door. Literally, next door to moi. A girl who lived next door. But she was unlike any other girl who lived next door. Or unlike any other girl even, for that matter.
The picture in my head is now vague, the features of her face blurry. I didn’t know her well. I don’t know her well. And the memory has faded with time.
Bright, brown eyes. A thick, braided mane of long hair. Sporty. Loud. Slightly crooked teeth, corrected by braces later. A light in her eyes. Adventurous and confident. Tomboy with an always-present laugh.
I barely remember our (little) time together. But I remember she was always good company. She might not have been into academics but she understood why I was “studious”. We talked about every topic under the sun. Shared jokes; made-up private ones. Played one-on-one cricket in summers. Watched her flying kites. Saw her roaring away in their little red IFX.
If I close my eyes and concentrate, I might not remember her face or our time together, but I can hear her laugh.
You’d listen to that laugh, see that wide-open mouth, that twinkle in the eye, and you’d know. You’d know that she meant it. Meant it truly and completely, with all her heart.
And that’s all I remember. That laugh.
Today, it has exactly been a year since you left us. Exactly 13 months since I last met you. And like I said, we were never close. But I was close enough to miss your presence in my life, how ever scant. Close enough to miss that smile. Close enough to miss that laugh.
Sana Afzal, you were truly a gem of a person. May you rest in peace, under the merciful hand of Our Lord. May Allah (swt) grant you the highest Jannah and forgive you. May He also grant solace to all your friends and family in these difficult times.