People always told them that they were too young to know about forever... but they said that those people didn’t know what they were talking about. They might have been worlds apart, quite literally, but she finally found a way to see her again.

The Day of the Dead, the only day out of 365 when she could walk on the earth and see her.

Allow me to take you all on a journey to the past. During the French intervention in Mexico or the first Franco-Mexican war, Rosa and her best friend, Samantha, were fourteen years old.

The day was 21st of December, 1838, when the two friends got caught between the crossfire. A bullet was about to hit Samantha but Rosa jumped in. It hit one of the major arteries in her neck and she fell into Samantha’s arms. Sam tried to contain the bleeding, but the blood was gushing out and there was nothing she could do. A few seconds later, Rosa passed away as too much blood had already been lost.

Three years had passed by, but Samantha couldn’t build up the courage to go see her friend’s tomb. Until that day, when she finally decided to visit it, though it still haunted her. She always held herself responsible for Rosa’s death. ‘She had sacrificed her life to save mine’ was the thought by which she was forced to live the rest of her days.

Meanwhile, on the other side, Rosa was stirring with excitement. She hoped that at least this year Samantha would come to see her. She knew that it was very hard for her but she needed to meet her, one last time... This was the last year that Rosa could walk the grounds of the Earth as by the end of the night, she would cross over to the other side for eternity.

It was almost time for the rituals to start, it was almost time for Samantha to face what she had been trying to avoid for the past three years of her life. Now that she was finally taking this step into healing, she agreed with herself that visiting the sacred garden, THEIR sacred garden, would be the only thing left to do.

Rosa was already sitting in their garden when she heard footsteps.‘Nobody knows about this garden other than us so it would have to be Sam’ she thought. Rosa couldn’t believe it was finally happening.

When Samantha stepped into the garden, she saw a familiar looking figure, except that it was glowing. The figure turned around and revealed itself to be Rosa. Samantha couldn’t believe what she was seeing. She couldn’t accept the fact that she was seeing her dead best friend, could she? It was impossible! Was it just her mind playing cruel tricks on her? What was going on?

“Rosa? Is that... y-you? Is this real or am I hallucinating?” she asked.

“Samantha, it is I, Rosa. I am here. I know that this is a lot to process but you must listen to me, for I do not have much time! There is something that you need to know. Please......” replied Rosa.

Samantha stepped back, “No....Wh-who a-a-are you?” she managed to say.

“It’s me Rosa...” she said as she slowly moved towards her friend.

But Samantha wasn’t ready to accept that, “No, you can’t be! Rosa died three years ago. You can’t be her... I am hallucinating for sure.” Now she was on her knees, crying.

“JUST LISTEN TO ME!” Rosa snapped, “I DO NOT HAVE MUCH TIME! THIS IS THE LAST YEAR I CAN WALK ON THE GROUND OF THIS EARTH! I AM PASSING OVER TO THE OTHER SIDE SAMANTHA!” She knelt beside her and said softly, “I won’t ever see you again...”

Samantha calmed herself, “What? What are you trying to say?” she asked.

“Yes, we can only cross through the portal of our world and the living world for the first three years after our death on the Day of the Dead.” Rosa explained. “So, tomorrow I will be going onto the other side for eternity. We will be sent over at midnight.”

Samantha wiped her tears and checked her pocket watch. “So, you will leave in…? Just thirty minutes!? I only have thirty minutes with you? No...” Their story couldn’t end like this, could it? Only thirty minutes wasn’t enough, was it?

Samantha’s thoughts were interrupted as Rosa got to her feet and gestured to Samantha to get up. “Walk with me.” She said.

So, the two friends walked over the nearby bridge and talked.

“Why didn’t you come to visit me for the past two years?” asked Rosa.

“I was scared. I felt horrible. You died saving me... the only reason we are even having such a conversation is entirely my fault. It should have been me.” Said Samantha, shaking her head.

“No, no... Look at me. Listen. I do not regret saving you. It gave my death a purpose and I am sure that I have done the right thing. So do not blame yourself. It was my decision and there was nothing you could have done to change that. Do not worry my dear, for I am going to find peace. I will be fine and I will be watching over you.” Rosa said with a gentle smile.

“But...” Samantha stopped walking and continued, “I do not know... my life is incomplete without you, it has been for the last three years. And knowing that I will not be able to see you ever again breaks my heart. When I lost you, it felt as if I had lost a part of me and I do not know if I will be able to watch you go again...” she stared into Rosa’s eyes and tried not to burst into tears again.

Rosa looked at the sky and said, “I only have a minute left. I wish to give you something to remember me by.” She pulled out her hand in which she held a tiny cylindrical bottle with a golden substance. “It is a piece of my soul and I want you to cherish it and keep it by your heart forever.” Rosa handed over the bottle to Samantha.

“Rosa... I cannot. This is- it is too much!” said Samantha with astonishment.

“Just trust me. I love you, Samantha. Do not ever forget that.” As Rosa said this she faded away, leaving sparkles of colourful light behind her.

Samantha held the bottle close to her heart and said, “I love you too” as tears started rolling down her cheeks.

“So, you see, this necklace was given by Rosa to your great great great great great grandmother… It has been passed down from generations to generations and now I feel it’s the right time to give it to you, my child.”

“Oh grandma, it's beautiful! I will keep it by my heart, and when it’s time I will pass it down to the next generation. Thank you for trusting me with it”, said the little girl.

“Of course, my dear. Now enough chitter chatter for tonight. Go to sleep.”

Author: Arushi Deshpande and Mrudul Shah

Editor: Charmee Purohit

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