What If?

What If?

Yesterday an ex-colleague sent me a WhatsApp message informing me that Charlene, another ex-colleague and friend died suddenly a few days ago.


Charlene made the best bean rotis for me, and any vegetable curry dish I desired. I passed on the good word and many others from the office asked her to cook for them. Her side-line business soon started thriving. Whenever I had overseas visitors stay with me she’d make a meal to delight my guests. Her culinary skills impressed them every time.


I’d tried to help Charlene and her family out as much as possible whenever I could, and then upon my return to South Africa, after being away for 10 months, I got back in touch with her and again wanted to help her. I had asked if she could cook for my father’s birthday and offered her more than double the money one would pay for similar food in a decent Indian restaurant. She agreed but then asked for more money, which greatly disappointed me. I kept thinking, how dare she – after everything I’ve done for her. I cancelled the order and my last words to her were, “When you charge me a fair price then only will I ask you to cook for me again.”


A month went by where we did not communicate, and now she is dead. Perhaps she needed that extra money for doctor’s bills, to help her feel better.


I realise that when cancer’s got you in its death grip that’s it, no amount of money can save you… But if I’d known I would never have baulked at giving her a bit extra.


The useless what ifs


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