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Please hold on tight my sweetheart - by N.F.

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A Promise to Rebuild


'O' Level student-inmate from Changi Women's Prison

Consolation Prize


This is a story about my 77 years old grandmother, whom I truly adore and love deeply. She is someone who I turn to throughout my life as I was brought up in a broken family. My parents were divorced since I was 18 but they were separated when I was only 5 years old. During their separation, it was my precious gem, my grandmother, who cared for my late ill grandfather, my siblings and myself. She was our sole breadwinner and without her, I just cannot imagine how we would have survived. My mother was always busy with her vicious drug cycle and that left me all on my own.


I will never forget the days when my grandmother quarrelled with my mother. How the squabble woke me and shouting loudly. How my late grandfather would try to intervene but he ended up in a fist fight with my mother instead. All this had left my siblings and myself visibly shaken crying and hugging one another for support at the corner of our flat. All of this had taken place when my mother’s demand for money was not fulfilled. It all happened because of my mother’s heavy drug consumption.


Despite seeing whatever violence that occurred at home, sometimes I just do not understand how it was not able to deter my own drug use. I started knowing drugs from a very young age. If I am not wrong at the age of 7, I knew where to get the drugs with my mother and whatever stuff she needs to smoke the drugs with. The exposure to drugs and knowledge of how to purchase it had got me landed in prison for the first time in 2002.


My life just stared to begin but I did not care at all about it. I know that I sounded selfish but at that point of time, all I know is that I want to know what is so great about drugs that my mother was willing to forsake my family and I. I wished I had not taken the first smoke of “Ice”. It was a synthetic drug that was designed to keep people awake, fresh and active at all hours. I can even go without sleeping for more than a few days at each time. Looking back on all those moments, I feel that I was the most crazy and idiotic person of all.


Since then, I did not look back on anything till 2016 March. I am serving my sentence of 6 years due to drug consumption and while serving my sentence, I do not have regular visits like the rest of the inmates in here. My grandmother is too old and I never see her since the day I am in here. What broke my heart was that my late father passed away on 30 January 2016. The news about my father’s demise came 2 months after. I was heartbroken that I never managed to get to see the last of him and during that critical moment, I thought about what would have I done if it was my precious gem who had leave me.


Few days went by and I thought a lot about losing my father. He was healthy and well when I last saw him in July 2013 but still in 2 years absence, out of the blue, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and three weeks after that he was gone forever. Even as I write this essay, I find it hard to believe that such an event had taken place. I pray day and night hoping this will be the last time for me in prison.

 

My trial just does not end there. In June 2016, I found out that my precious gem had nose cancer which has spread to her throat and liver. The last I know is that it is at stage 4 and currently she is undergoing chemotherapy. I am despondent with the fact that I am going to lose my precious gem. I am afraid of waking up one day and knowing that I have lose her. Believe it or not but a miracle came to me in March 2017 when my baby sister pushed my precious gem on a wheelchair to visit me. Oh my God! Looking at the state she was in broke my heart into thousand pieces. I think I had never knew how much she meant to me until that very moment.


I always thought that I love her so much but my actions prove it otherwise. If I really love her, than I should not be here. I chided myself for being so selfish and not sparing a thought about all my love ones whom I left behind out there each time I was caught and sent to prison. My darling grandmother is having dementia that she asked me repeated questions again and again. Every time when she asked me when I would be back. I could practically see the hurt and eagerness of anticipating my return. With every answer that I gave her, I made a promise that I want to repent and not repeat my stupid blunders anymore.


I am not a person who gave words easily. I do not like to give empty promises as I hate people who lie to me. But that day was a day that I had given my grandmother the words that I am going to care for her once I am released. I want to cook, wash, clean and accompany her in her old age. When I utter those words to her with tears streaming down my face, I am resolute about what I want to do in my life. I want to change the life that I have now.


Today, I am left with around 4 months plus to my date of release. I have not heard from my family since and as I said, I do not have regular visit from home. Sometimes the fear would come making me think about all the “what if” questions. My grandmother is awaiting for my return and I cannot wait to go back to her arms once again. I am not going to let go of her anymore. This is a promise to rebuild from to the most special person in my life. Please hold on tight my sweetheart, we will be together soon. I am coming home soon and please be there so that the promise will be rebuild. I love you, grandma.

 

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