White Clouds

By Lara Chin

This is for my favourite couple-R & S

Have you ever noticed that hope comes in different shapes and sizes? You may not know this, but if you paid close attention, hope can be anything-a rock, your puppy, or even the crazy old woman next door. Mine came in the form of white clouds.

My name is Rose Melody and I'm 16 years old. I go to school, shop, cook, sing, dance and do almost everything a normal girl would do. But something happened to me which changed my life forever.

I used to know a boy called Steven Williams. We were in the same class but I was never close to him because I knew that he had this big crush on me. I tried to get away every time he came near me. Not that he's a nerd or anything. Actually, he was quite cute. He had big friendly brown eyes which twinkled every time you talked to him. He had a nice smile which could make you forget about your worries. Steven was tall and played for our school basketball team. He was very smart too. He was easily the best student in Maths and Biology and was always the top in every exam.

I don't know why I acted the way I did. Maybe it was the fact that he told the whole class that I was his girlfriend. The whole school knew about it after that. I was so embarrassed that I felt like locking myself up in my locker and never come out till I was 20. And maybe it was because Steven thought he was my personal bodyguard. Each time I went out of the classroom, he would ask me where I was heading to and told me to come back quickly (he was the nearest to the door). And every time I talked to the cool guys, Steven would always be close by. Ready to pounce on the boys. Once he went to far. Jack, the school's hottest guy made a move on me. Steven punched him in the eye and Jack was absent for 2 days because of the idiot. That really made me mad so I told him off. I said he made me look like a complete fool. I told him that he made my life a misery and that I wished he didn't exist at all. Everything just came right out of my mouth. The things I've been dying to tell him just flew out. Steven looked at me for a while and then he said that he would leave me alone. He wouldn't bother me anymore. I hated the way he said it. He made me feel like hitting myself. He was so patient that I would rather have him shout at me. He then walked away and I never saw him in school after that.

Then, I knew why. During assembly, Principal Jacobs told us sadly that a very good student of our school couldn't come to school anymore because he was very sick. And that student happened to be Steven. He told us that Steven was diagnosed with cancer and he didn't have a very long time to live. He went on with a very long speech about Steven. His contribution to the school and so on. But I wasn't listening. I suddenly felt like puking. I ran out of the hall and hid in the girls bathroom. I cried and cried my heart out. I knew that it was my responsibility to go and see him. To tell him I was sorry for all those harsh words and that I wanted to be his friend again. I had to force myself to go. It was the only way.

So after school, my best friend Kara and I decided to pay him a visit at the hospital. Kara told me that Steven had been very nice to her. He helped her with her Maths homework and it was because of him, she was enjoying the subject. We bought some carnations from the florist and then went to see him.

A kind looking nurse told us that Steven was in a private ward. She led us there. We could only stay a while because Steven needed his rest. I was surprised to see so many other familiar faces there. Almost the whole school came to see Steven. Something hit me. Steven was very popular among the students because of his kind nature. He always gave a hand to those in need. He never accepted anything for his good deeds. He once said that it was his duty to give what he could. The feeling of knowing that you could do something for other people and making their lives easier was the most important thing. That was his reward.

People left one by one. So it was only me and Kara. She gave Steven the flowers. He accepted them and thanked her. Kara said she was the one who should be thanking him. She gave him a hug and told him he was an angel sent from heaven. And then she went out of the room and left us alone. I glared at Kara but she only winked at me. I wasn't ready to face him yet. So I just stood by his bedside like a little girl who was too shy to talk to a grown up. Steven smiled at me. And suddenly, I felt so much better. It was like the sun came out to shine again. And all my fears were washed away. Steven and I talked and talked. I discovered that it was so easy to tell him things. When I apologised about how I behaved the last time, he told me to forget about it. It was useless to remember about the past.

We became closer after that. I remembered I used to go and visit him everyday after school. We spent time together reading, playing puzzles, telling each other jokes and just having fun. I admired him a lot. Steven knew he didn't have much time but he was okay about it. He told me that when God wants us to go, we shouldn't fight Him. But follow Him because He has his reasons. And death may not seem such a bad thing after all. Steven told me that life was just the beginning of a wonderful end. Never ever forget that.

Steven was my teacher. He had so much knowledge about the world. He was only 16, yet he was the wisest person I ever met. Steven passed away three days before the new year. I felt my heart break. But before he went, he told me not to worry about him anymore. He said that he would be happy watching me from above. And he told me to look up at the sky and see the white clouds floating. He would be among them, looking down at me.

I didn't believe him at first. But now whenever I look up, I can see him smiling down at me, as if telling me to always have hope. I learnt a valuable lesson from Steven. We can only achieve if we believe and had hope in our hearts. Hang on to your dreams, never give up. One day, you'll see. You have reached the stars.

Just look up... among those white clouds.....