Friday, April 3, 2020

Real Friend

written & photographed by Chakriya PHOU

I did not open friend group for several days.
Tonight, I was online. I saw many photos and chat messages. My friends - in group - have chatted.
'I attended Rani's funeral. Also, her 7 days funeral.'
'I attended only her 7 days funeral.'
'I did not see you.'
'I went at evening. I took time after I left office. I felt pity her.'
'Yes, I pitied her. She is our friend. She passed away at young. So pity.'
'Very sorry about her.'
'I read her chats in our group. I miss her.'
'I offered $ 100 to her family.'
'Yes, I miss her.'
I read their chat. I looked at their photos. They were at funeral, but - I wondered - they smiled when they took photo.
Well, they continued their chatting.
'I did not see Sopie at the funeral.'
Sopie was my name. They talked about me. I did not chat, but I was online. They should see, but they dd not pay attention to my present online.
'It is not appropriate. At least, she should go to see friend for last time.'
'She did not go to 7 days funeral too.'
'Cold heart woman.'
'We should ask her. Maybe she went but we did not see her.'
'If she attended, she should have photo. I did not see she posted photo of the funeral and nor in group. It means she did not attend. I felt not good about her.'
'Yes, rights. She should not call herself friend of Rani.'
Suddenly, a message appeared in our group. It was from Rani. I opened eyes big. She wrote message to our group? She died already? How could she?
I bet friends were surprised too. They all saw her message.
She wrote long message. I read it.
'Dear Sopie,
I write this message for you.
I know you did not attend my funeral and you will not for sure.
Even though, I am not angry or upset with you because you are my real friend.
I had sick for months. Only my family knew. I did not tell any friend even you. I felt depression when I realized my days were counted. I was scared. I posted many posts. Friends just clicked like or love. Only you, you sent private message to me, asked me how I was, chat with me. When I posted message into group - that I was not happy - no any friend replied me. Only you. You replied me, you chat with me, also you called me and spoke all nights. Moreover, you took me out. I remember you took me to Royal Palace because you knew I wanted to see emerald Buddha statue. It was great day I ever had. Then days after, you took me to visit national museum. You were my guide. I listened to your telling about the museum and statue - that you knew - it was very great telling. I remember when you took me to have lunch at restaurant along river side, near Varin pagoda. We had lunch there and stayed on hammock, got fresh air of river. We stayed there until 4pm then we came back to Phnom Penh. I was very glad when you accompanied me to see animation and comedy movie at cinema. I laughed. I forgot my pain at those moments. Every times you came to take me out, you spent. Car petrol, meal and even cinema ticket. I spent less. You spent time with me, cared about me, when I was alive, while other friends think of me when I'm already gone. I feel it's useless when they pray me incense and talk with me through that incense. I don't hear them. I wanted to hear them, to see them when my ears and my eyes were opened, but they did not show up. They did not even take  look or chat with me in group. I don't feel they are my friend although they attend my funeral or 7 days funeral or offer much money to my funeral. Because I don't know or hear anything anymore.
Sopie, I want to take this chance to make my last announce to the group and to our friends that only you friend to me. And I have no regret to know you. Also, I leave in peace and rest in peace. You are my friend forever and I believe I am your friend in your heart forever too.
Good bye, Sopie. 
Love you.

From Rani,'

I smiled when I read this message. Two drops of tear fell down my face. Yes, I did not attend her funeral because I felt I have already done enough for her as her friend. I did not want to see her sleeping and cold body for I wanted to keep her beautiful smiling and active image - when we had fun together - forever in my mind. I felt peaceful as I learnt she left in peace and I was glad to see her saying she rested in peace.
Rani's message were seen by all friends in group. They were silent. Then another message from Rani showed up.
'Hello everyone,
I am younger sister of Rani. She gave this message, before she died, and asked me to send into the group on night of 7 days funeral of her.
Perhaps this message scares you. I am so sorry.
My sister told everything about sister Sopie.
My parents and I would like to express great thank to sister Sopie what she had helped my sister while she was in hard time. We really thank to you for your kindness and true friendship to our sister.'

After, Rani name was removed - by her sister - from our group.

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