Wini was allowed to go home the week after Christmas, and apart from a couple of texts and a short phone call, I didn’t really talk to her until a couple of weeks into January. My family had utilised the holiday period to go on a little trip to the coast, and various other excursions like cherry picking. I didn’t have much time on my hands during those weeks after Christmas and neither did many others, and so the communication between our friendship group ceased a little. It wasn’t until the tennis date that I saw some of my friends again.

Around a week into the new year, I got a missed call from Wini. For many, a missed call was just a missed call, but for me it was a complete failure. A failure on my behalf to the promise that I gave to Wini when she was still hospitalized: I told her that she could call me whenever and I’ll be there, but evidently I was not. I tried calling back, my mind already speeding ahead to the apologies that I owed Wini, but she didn’t pick up. After being transferred to her mailbox for the fifth time, I decided to call it a day and try again the next day.

She called me again a few days later when I was in the shower, and by the time I got to my phone I couldn’t reach her. This happened for another two days, with both of us leaving missed calls on the other’s phone continuously. I texted her too, hoping fervently that nothing was wrong and she was just calling to chat. Finally, she picked up the phone when I called her back, and I found out the reasons for the ten or so missed calls that I had.

“I haven’t seen anyone in such a long time,” she told me, “So I was thinking of organizing something so that we could all see each other again. And then I thought, why not tennis? I went to the Aussie Open the other day with Lola, and she said that she’d love to come hang out and play tennis one day. So hopefully you can make it on Wednesday? There are courts near my house, and they’re really nice so it should be good.”

I was so relieved that this was the sole reason she’d been trying to call me for the past few days. Of course I said that I would come, although I did warn her that my tennis skills are horrible, to say the least. I haven’t asked Mum or Dad about it yet, but no matter what they said I would go anyway.

It turned out that I was even worse at tennis than I thought, constantly hitting loopy shots that went everywhere but inside the lines. My friends were all good, which really didn’t help my self-esteem, but it was okay because my clumsy attempts at tennis became quite comical and made everyone laugh. Wini was amazing, like I knew she was, and we had a ball. It was a fantastic way to start off a new year, and seeing our group together and laughing again made my chest want to burst with happiness.

Wini was armed with her camera, as she is the regular photographer from our group, and the sunshine and friendship of that wonderful day was captured forever. She gave us all the prints from that day, and they have been hanging on my wall since. Every time I looked at those photos, it reminded me that we’ve made it through the worst of it all, and suddenly life seemed that much brighter. They gave me hope, every single one of my precious friends, and I hope that they know exactly how much they mean to me.

The End

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