14 April 2016

goodbye ayman

On the eve of the first birthday I spent in Paris, I met a guy. I was giddily excited and announcing to anyone who would listen that it was my birthday in a couple of hours, to which he quietly shared that it was his birthday, too.

I thought he was kidding, but an exchange of IDs later, and it was true. I was halfway around the world, and I had just met the first person I knew who shared my birthday, just as the clock was about to strike midnight.

Every year since that day, he would greet me. You're allowed to be self-centered on your birthday, but this was a guy who took the time out of his own birthday to greet me. "How is it possible that every year we celebrate our birthday together?" he would write.

Just last week, with May looming soon, I was thinking I should try to greet him first this year, because he was always so good at remembering.

Except I won't be able to. He died today.

Apart from the shock, there is an even greater grief knowing that up until now we had spent exactly the same number of days on earth. But here I am going on with so many future plans, expecting a bright future ahead of me. Yet, for him, it is over. How is it possible for life to be so short for some? Just a month short of his next birthday! Why wasn't he given more time?

I wept.

Because I realized that after all, we are not the masters of our fate. We can plot and plan all we want, but our end is still nothing we can control. If it was my time to go tomorrow, would I be ready?

Rest in peace, Ayman. Thank you for sharing my birthday, even if just for thirty-three years.