The clock reads 3:32am as I plug the Tesla into the supercharger. 40 minutes til full charge. I open a blank notepad to write.
Her name is Sushil. Her friends calls her Natalia.
Half Italian, half Japanese, Sushil looked every bit as Australian.
I picked Sushil up near Potts Point. She needed to ride to Parramatta before eventually returning to Circular Quay. The 1.5 hour journey offered us plenty of opportunities to bond.
Sushil was loud but not obnoxious. A clear extrovert, it didn’t take long before she opened up and began sharing her stories with me.
Sushil spoke of her first child passing at the age of three due to being born with an incomplete lung. He was her charm. He rid her off of her heroin addiction and she’s been clean ever since. She’s grateful for the gift of a new life he’s given her.
She spoke of her second child being kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend. How the prick smuggled her new born out of the hospital on the sixth day of her giving birth when she was forced to go take a shower. Her ex flew to Turkey with the baby, only to never return. The Turkish police eventually found her kid living with her ex and his new girlfriend. Despite the Turkish law prohibiting her rights to custody and the very real possibility that the kid will never discover who her real mother is, Sushil said she’s made peace with it and is happy that her son will go on to live a quality life in Turkey.
Sushil suffers from asthma, requires medication for ADHD and inherits other medical disorders with acronyms I’ve never known. Yet she is full of life. Full of energy.
She had attempted suicide three times but each time, death wasn’t ready. More recently, she told me she was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer and said at one point, she decided that it was easier to give up.
Following this, she said:
“But my life began the day the doctor told me I have less than three months to live. There were so many times when I should’ve died, so many encounters where I should’ve been killed, yet I’m still here. So I decided to fight, because I must be here for a purpose.”
In that moment, she chose life, she chose to live. She chose to fight and see the positive in every setback, every imaginable suffering.
Her cancer has since rescinded and amidst all the medications and treatments, Sushil attributes the speed of her recovery largely to sustaining a positive mindset.
Right now, despite her financial success, Sushil distributes cigarettes and coffees to the homeless she’s befriended living downstairs from her. She hands out cigarettes so as to help them alleviate their pain, to keep them away from trouble during the day. In about three hours, she’s getting up to help a pregnant friend whose husband has just been sent to prison.
Sushil doesn’t own a TV, and we bonded over our common disdain for the negativity and fear that permeates the media. Sushil writes letters to her friends each week, and jots down nothing more than the particular day she’s having or the peculiar mood she’s in. Sushil said she looks up and watches the birds from time to time.
It’s now close to 5am. Instead of feeling exhausted, I feel exhilarated to having driven Sushil. We exchanged numbers before she left and agreed to give each other a call if we’re ever feeling down.