Climbing The Mountain: What Support Means to a Friend.

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Climbing The Mountain: What Support Means to a Friend.

This segment will be a bit shorter than the last. This is because, thankfully, this instance was not long term. It was for about a school year that I watched yet another best friend of mine fight cancer. Now, some people may be on the same page as me on this one. But does anyone have that friend who they're not quite sure how they ended up getting so close with? It just sorta happened and you didn't realize it was happening. This is what I remember. The infamous, High School lunch table. Me and the so called "Weaboos". To those who don't know, it's a term that has been applied to people who like Anime. In my opinion, labeling a group of people who are passionate about something is out of line. If we separate each other into categories, how will we connect. Regardless, I hung out there because some of them were my friends. One of them I was dating at the time. There was a 2nd table where the people who didn't get a seat on time would go. A kid named Rahul was always at that table, I believe playing Magic The Gathering. He'd come over, chat with us and overall just be charming as anyone can be. I mean, this guy is really a heart warmer. I didn't know him personally, but he knew some of the others. Sometimes he would randomly come over, sit down next to me, and just rest his arm on my shoulder while chatting with one of my friends. He just didn't care at all, he was friendly with everyone. You could not hate him even if your life depended on it. Outside of school, we would all hang out at each others houses. I threw a fair amount of video game tournament parties. He just kept showing up everywhere. He would come to my parties as I invited him. He'd appear in the car with me and my friends, show up to random events. Eventually, we started personally communicating personally. Text and Facebook. I'd show up at his house or he'd come over and bring Thai food out of the goodness of his heart. I wouldn't even ask. He just wanted get a smile on your face. While we're putting this guy on a pedestal, let me also add this. I want you to imagine a playground. Now combine that with an Olympic gold medal winner. NOW COMBINE THAT with the agility of every wild animal. Rahul is all if these, reincarnated into one person. If he trips, he ever so gracefully front flips and ends up back on his feet. He climbs trees, does back flips and so on. If you tell him "We're gonna go hike a mountain" he won't answer with "How high?". He will answer with "When do we leave?". One mountain, however, was a tougher one to conquer. All of this sudden, he dissapeared into the wilderness. I barely ever got a hold of him for a few weeks. He was not showing up to school and he was inactive on Facebook. He had recently been complaining about some minor ill feelings and pains, so I was worried. It was some time later, he told me he would be going through Chemotherapy in order to treat what he had just been diagnosed with: Testicular Cancer. Here's when I would say that I kept my head up high with hope. But I didn't. I was angry. A different kind of angry. I wanted to find whatever genetic, being or entity that made this happen and make it pay for what it was doing to the nicest, sweetest, more caring and ALIVE person that I had ever met. The injustice was more frightening than the disease itself at the time. The reason why is because, after some time, people learned that he was not in urgent care. He had been caught early and, thankfully, it was quite treatable. This is what I am lead to understand, that is. He was still on his feet, eating well and generally happy around his friends. He did eventually lose his hair, but interestingly enough, I never saw his loss of hair. He never took his hat off. No one would even touch it or mention it. We all knew he didn't want us to see. Anyone who dared to remove that hat would have suffered a great deal of guilt from the support group. This was rough, personally, because my girlfriend also decided to end our relationship around that time. I felt lonely for a while, knowing that the guy I looked up to now seemed to be looking up to me for support. All I could think to myself was "I am nothing, nor anyone to look up to. I'm not good at many things. All I can do is put all my love and affection into the things I care about most. My friends, my family and my art" Rahul is my friend because he understands this about me, and it doesn't phase him one bit. I always wondered what he saw in a lost individual like me. My wild guess, I never left this kids side. And I refuse to, because he has shattered light over the burdens of what I was going through in High School. One day, Rahul came to school without the hat on. The hair was back, as was the same guy before the diagnoses. Energy had been pumped back into him and it was as if nothing ever happened... The messages I want to convey are mixed. But I will say this. Maybe you think there is nothing you can do for your friends, nor can you offer them much in terms of quantity. But what I have learned is that support is more valuable than any amount of money you can shove in your pocket. The world is not fair and something like this should not happen to someone like Rahul. But the aftermath was minuscule because of the support group of friends surrounding him. Your presence means more than you think. Don't question things, just accept and move forward and upward. Rahul conquered that mountain, just like the rest, He was a Production Assistant on my last film and now he is starting his first job in research for Cancer. He will succeed. Cancer was just his morning workout. Stay strong, stay close with those who matter. Rid of the burdens and stick to what's positive. -Matthew


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