For Jihan, with all my love.

I have a best friend since birth. She was this little girl who lived a house away from mine. We probably even have photos together as babies or something hidden somewhere. And, for as long as I can remember, she would come over our house frequently to talk to me and play with me.

She would talk, and I would listen. That was our role.

Over the years, she would be that girl who would help me do my household chores and help me take care of my sick grandparents. She would be that person who would help me go through my turbulent days – the one who held my hand when my grandparents died and the one who was beside me as I tried to withstand the domestic violence in our home. As a teenager, she would be the one who would encourage me to finish my studies and reach for my dreams.

We don’t really get to see each other regularly nowadays anymore. But every time I stumble and fall, I would remember that small voice of hers. Crisp and clear and confident, encouraging me, urging me, and telling me that things will get better. That I can do this, I will live through this. That she believes with all her heart that I will become successful someday.

My story therefore, is as much as hers as it is mine.

Not every Cinderella has a fairy godmother. But they should at least come with a best friend.

Thank you for being that best friend, Jihan. Thank you for hearing my silent cries. Thank you for sharing my pain.

Happy birthday! ❤

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