On life and its vagaries

Touches, kind and soothing

with 7 comments

The  boy had been lying on the portioned-off veranda of the hospital for some time now. There was no place inside the wards for him.

The wards were full, there was an outbreak of some epidemic in the neighborhood, other patients were there long before he was brought in and they couldn’t be shifted.

The patrolmen who brought him had left after a whispered conversation with the head nurse and saying to him kindly.

Become a thug and make trouble for us when you are out of here.

He had wanted to smile at them. They had wrapped him in their towel and were careful not to hurt him all the way to the hospital.

The older of them softly patted him on the head and said brightly before leaving.

He is a strong lad, isn’t he?

There was a faint catch in the voice and the little boy had felt overwhelmed with unknown feelings at that.

It was night, someone had turned off the lights in the veranda but he was not anxious, he knew that all will be over anytime now.

He had overheard the words “critical” and “hopeless” while the doctors were talking and he knew it was about him.

But he was not afraid.

He was dreaming about something, something vast and beautiful and he was soaring, there were fleets of clouds around and there were smiling faces and encouraging looks in them, flocks of beautiful birds flew with him, all white and lovely and he had felt very happy.

Then a hand touched him. There were lights around this time. A kind face was looking down on him.

Is it painful?

It asked.

No. he said. He had difficulty in breathing. Everything had gone wrong inside him. He felt all sore and hurt inside.

Old wizened fingers caressed his thin hands and small chest.

You will get well soon, may I pray for you?

He did not know what to say. Did anyone ever pray for him? He couldn’t recall it. Did his mother pray for him, she was too worried about keeping the wolves off the door.

There was not a door even. There was nothing other than the city which had bred them.

He had seen her cry, wail and abuse god. But pray? He doesn’t know. Did his father and siblings pray for him?

But who was his father?  Mother never told him; did he have any brothers and sisters?

She used to explode at those questions.

Aren’t you a curse enough for me?

May be he had no one besides mother.

The old nun kept murmuring something, keeping her eyes shut.

He felt comforted by her nearness, her old hands were hurting him somewhat, and they were rough and hard boned. But all the same their touch felt very soothing, peaceful even.

He was drifting off to sleep.

When he again woke up a priest was leading a procession of nurses with a lamp held in front. The priest was very handsome to look at; the nurses too looked very beautiful in the rosy shade of the light. They were silently passing by.

The sight filled him with awe and a strange ache.

Everything now filled him with wonder. He felt grateful in his heart for being where he was then, in a hospital being looked after by people unknown to him and kind to him.

On occasions a yearning broke out from his heart with a sob, if he had been………then the feeling was erased by something in him.

He was unable to sleep now and lay there looking out in to the night.

He found a lonely star in the sky. May be it’s not even a star…………..he had only seen very few stars in the sky. The sky had always appeared dark to him.

They slept in the streets, he and his mother. Nights were dangerous places for them. They were always dark and terrifying……..

After a while a nurse came and gave him something to lessen the pain.

Where is your mother?

She asked.

He did not know. He tried to say something but nothing would come out of his mouth.

The nurse was kind and did not say what was in her mind. He felt thankful to her.

Was it one man or many? The nurse asked now checking his pulse. She meant his hurts.

He was overcome with feelings and tried to lift a finger in answer. There was pain all over. The young girl understood.

Did he hurt you much?

The nurse asked now looking into his eyes.

He felt drawn deep into those eyes and said.

I….I don’t know.

It’s alright.

She left, smiling at him.

He lay there with a great sadness enveloping his little soul.

He was thinking of a small coffin and of how very, very secure he would be in it, and as he lay there a great soothing hand pressed and pressed on his heart.

It pressed and pressed till he was no more.


7 Responses

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  1. wow. i simply love the way you told this story; made me sad, but i suppose the reader was intended to feel what the little boy felt. good write


    August 30, 2009 at 9:34 pm

  2. Thank you. You have a wonderful soul. Such words mean a lot to me.


    August 31, 2009 at 7:30 am

  3. very well written.


    September 1, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    • Thank you very much.


      September 1, 2009 at 5:33 pm

  4. So creative. Perfect choice of words. I’m almost teary. You should think of writing rock lyrics, seriously! I’ll definitely buy your work.


    May 19, 2012 at 7:35 pm

  5. you convey so very much with such minimal dialog and with such succinct descriptions…so that even in the face of tragedy and danger there is a sad but irrepressible beauty.


    July 7, 2012 at 3:54 am

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