The visiting hours were over. I walked out of the room. Seeing her writhe in pain was the last thing I had wanted to see. And doing that helplessly had been my ritual for the last five years. She was the epitome of life, love and beauty. My darling wife Susan.
I met Susan on one of my visits to the kids section in the hospital. I was there as a clown for a patient’s birthday party. I had been forced to go there as a replacement by my friend. He was part of a non-governmental organization’s team. This NGO was trying to spread joys to the children suffering from fatal diseases.
I still remember how I had gotten late and dashed into Susan at the pediatric section. She smiled at me, I understood later, it was because of how foolish I looked. But, I was supposed to be a clown, I had to look foolish and act too. Anyways, she smiled at me and my heart seemed as though it forgot to beat.
Susan, I later learned was there everyday. She had to be. She was the most loved nurse of the pediatric department. Children adored her. I was a witness to that when I visited the hospital as a patient, a short week later. As soon as my orthopedic doctor checked my bones of my fractured arm, I got an excuse to go further. I felt it was a boon in disguise for me.
I stepped onto the elevator and reached the fourth floor. The door opened after a ring. I stepped out of it. I walked along seeing the children of all shapes and sizes and colors around. The most disturbing sights were to come next. To see the tiny arms and hands straddled with needles hurt me. The little eyes sparkling with hope. Their little faces with frowns due to the medicines and injections. I kept walking around. I stopped at a corner and looked around. It was the Cancer patients ward.
The steady rise of deaths due to cancer was not a new thing, but it shocked me to see children affected by it too. And all here were in the second or third stage. I looked around, most of them had not a single hair on their head. Some of them had hair, like some messy patch left on their head. It was heart-rending. Stark reality about that disgusting disease looked back at me. Why these kids? I wondered. What have they done? Have they even lived properly to be subjected to such painful times and death at such a tender age?
And then, she entered. She was in that white boring nurse uniform. Yet, never had I seen a woman look so beautiful in that attire. Those soft blue eyes had so much care and concern in them. She was tall and wore no heels, she was wearing white flats. And her brown-blonde hair tied into a tight bun. Her thin pink lips made her look so beautiful that I didn’t realize it when she came up to me.
“Sir, what are you doing here? I think you’ve lost your way. The orthopedic department is on the first floor.” She kept saying and I just stared at her. When finally she snapped a finger in front of my eyes, the spell broke.
“Oh! I am sorry.” I replied apologetically.
She took a hard and close look at me. Then she smiled. Dear God! What a creation of Yours! My heart again skipped a beat.
“Hey! You are the person who was here last week as the clown. Am I right?” She asked. I was amazed and happy that she had remembered me. And then began my trips to the hospital. My visits and walks around the children were something I waited for every week. Once in a week, I would go there and play the clown or read stories to those innocent souls. What peace it brought! And the onus was Susan was always there.
Finally one Saturday I took her out for dinner. And then as they say all is history. But wait, not in that sense. Our dinners were really dinners. We’d watch a movie or go for a walk. Then we would bid each other farewell. There was some reason that Susan never initiated anything. Plans, movies or dinners. She would happily comply but not ask first. She was close yet very far from me.
It was one night, when after the movie and dinner, I held her hand and sat on a bench nearby a small park. It was a full moon shining overhead. I told her about my day, she heard. I complained about my job, she giggled. It was like the sound of bells. Soft chimes. And I couldn’t stop myself. I raised my hand and touched her chin. Raising her face up, in the moonlight I saw those blue eyes. How magical they were!
And then I kissed her. Soft and tender kiss. She was surprised but didn’t try to move away. After I moved away, she opened those blue eyes and looked at me. This time there were tears in them. I was scared. Did I do something wrong. I looked at her questioningly.
She held my hand. Her hands had become so cold. I was worried she was sick. She held it tightly and said, “I know Simon. I have felt it. You want to take our relationship ahead, but before that I need to tell you something. I cannot cheat you or deceive you.”
I was filled with fright. What was it? Was she already married? Was she engaged? Was she in love with someone else? Questions flooded my mind……..
(To be continued…….)
Note: Well, the story stops here. Surely will try to move it ahead tomorrow. Hope you all like it.
From Simon, Susan and