Most kids are afraid of monsters that live under their bed or inside their closet, I was afraid of the one living in my chest. His growls, whistles and wheezing have kept me up many nights and without a doubt have made me very, very afraid.

A boy walked into the hole in the wall where I was having breakfast in Delhi, accompanied by his parents. He stood out to me among the early morning ramblings and the sound of hurried spoons hitting the colorfully stuffed, tin plates.

His drawn little face told a story of eyes that had seen too much and a young soul that was already overburdened. He wore a hep-lock on his hand and had recently been receiving some form of treatment.

The restaurant went quiet for a moment and I couldn’t help but stare, as the tears started streaming uncontrollably down my face.

They were all still there.

The nightmarish memories I had tucked away somewhere. Intensive Care, hospital buddies that never returned, the smallest bald heads and fearing I was going to lose my hair too…

I don’t think I ever really understood why some kids never came back, it just made me really sad not to see them anymore. Angelic moon faces puffed up from medication, missed holidays and being sick again, on your birthday.

If you’re loved nights in the hospital include someone caring for you, sitting uncomfortably at the edge of your bed. Ready to bring you everything and anything, trying to find a way to make you better.

Never giving up, when the only solution is waiting.

For me, it was my mom.

Holding my hand at all hours, taking my fear away. Making me feel like this terrifying, unfamiliar room was somehow a little bit safe, at least for this one moment.

She would always be sitting there awake even when her eyes were closed, just in case I would wake up. My mom taught me how in the end, love will always conquer every single scary monster.