Sarah is the first 'flend' I made when my family moved to our new place some years ago. She is also autistic.
     A regular visitor at the house, she quickly grew on me, on all of us. Always bearing fruits and vegetables which she claimed were only for "her flend".
     Her family moved away from the neighborhood but occasionally, I'd meet her on my way. She'd run to me and hug me. Then she'd ask how I was and why I wasn't fat yet.

     I love(d) Sarah. I never understood why. Maybe it was her childish innocence or how I was always at ease with her. I'd sit listening to her juvenile, sometimes inane stories. On rare occasions, I'd thrill her with tales from school. Not sure if she understood all of it that but her reaction was always the same; a toothy grin and an embrace.
    During one of my holidays, a neighbor came visiting with bad news.
    Sarah had been raped by a gateman and was currently in the hospital. The said gateman was reportedly missing.
    Mum and I went to see her. She seemed fine. Cracked jokes and asked why my eyes were red and why I still wasn't fat.
    Some months later, mum called to tell me Sarah had given birth.
Now, wait for it.
    She had given birth to triplets.
    I ran home to see for myself. Triplets it was.
    That evening, one of the babies died.
    In the space of two weeks after I'd gone back to school, the remaining two died.
    I ran home again.
    The Sarah I knew was gone. In her place was this broken woman with mad eyes. She held me, weeping and stuttering about how her "children die just like that. Just like that, my flend. Why?"  I held her, letting my own tears fall, wishing I could tell her why.
Why nature was unfair. Why she was born that way, to be an outcast, helpless. Why society was unjust. Why a scoundrel could have his way with her and get away with it because, the inactions of the police meant "Who cares about the imbecile? Why she had to suffer all these.
     Her mother decided to send her to the village, to stay with her grandmother. A change of scene.
     She came to say goodbye. Smiling. Helpless. Choiceless.
     Do you sometimes look around at all the tragedy around you and feel like you don't deserve the life you've got? Like you're not grateful enough?
I do. Everyday.


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