It Began With The Last Leaf

Times were dark. As I swallowed the last set of my antidepressants one night, I texted my friend, “I don’t think I can refill my meds for the next two days. I am going to be super anxious.” She worked out all possibilities to refill my pills; sadly, her efforts ended in vain. I was okay for a day. But, anxiety crept in, making me restless and pathetic. I was alone in a place, which should have been my home. There was no power, no company, and I sank in my sofa, scrolled Facebook and Whatsapp, and tried hard to keep toxic thoughts at a distance. I had to try really hard.

That’s when this friend of mine sent me a text again. “I sent you some links. Did you try reading them?” I kicked myself for not reading the articles, so I promised, “I am going to read right away.” Those were a couple of short stories titled — The Last Leaf, The Yellow Dog, and Springtime a la Carte. I loved all the stories. The writing was snarky, intelligent, funny, and moving. I asked her to reveal the author’s name. She said, “William Sydney Porter.” I sighed. “Who is that? I have never heard of him.” With no trace of snobbishness in her tone, she said, “It is O Henry.” I read the stories again. The Yellow Dog made me laugh. Springtime a la Carte made me feel good. The Last Leaf, pardon my french, that fucking story, killed me. We discussed the people, Henry’s style of writing, the stories’ poignancy, and the conversation went on for hours. In a while, I wasn’t feeling lonely, dark or miserable. I had a friend, who could drag me out of the darkness, by making me read, the very activity that I had forgotten to do.

My phone buzzed a couple of days ago. It was that friend again. She asked, “Did you get to read O Henry?” I tried hard to sound sincere, and sent her a message. “The Best Short Stories of O. Henry is in my wishlist. It costs Rs 749. I can’t afford this month. But, I am surely going to buy that next month.” And, she went, “Hmmmm.”

Today, after I settled at my workstation, and began to work sulkily, I received a gift from my friend. And, it was this.



These days, I cry like those touchy mothers in Austen’s novels. 😉 I hugged the book, and I almost cried. I ran my hand on the spine, the note, and I almost cried again. When your heart is warmed, do you cry too? Will you tell me I am being normal? 😉

Thoughtful friends, who create memorable moments, are those who restore my faith in friendship, hope, and humanity. ❤

And, here is a suggestion: Do not lose a friend, who sends you a super early New Year gift. 🙂

‘There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.’

— PG Wodehouse



6 thoughts on “It Began With The Last Leaf

  1. I never knew O’Henry’s real name was William Sydney Porter. Yes, I’ve read many of his short stories, and I believe that I have his collection of short stories.

    He was one prolific writer. He wrote for the periodicals of his time. Apparently he was always in debt, so he used get advances against stories that he would contribute. His stories were mostly centered around the lives of working class people of his times. The Gift of the Magi and The Last Leaf are the better known stories from his collection.
    Hope you enjoy reading them.

    Liked by 1 person

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