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girl's wish

The unspoken wish of a dying girl

Nina was eight and George 77. They both lived in a friendly, little neighbourhood of Zurich. As a last resort, the Parkers brought their daughter Nina to Switzerland for a clinical trial. She had been sick for a while, and no treatment had helped her so far. Even this time around, the chances were slim. Nonetheless, the hapless parents didn’t leave a stone unturned to save their daughter. To begin with, the doctors had given her a few months, but after her recent evaluation, it seemed Nina had even less time than that.

While the eight-year-old struggled with a life and death situation, across the street, Nina’s septuagenarian neighbour George was looking for a new lease of life. After having lost his wife to a fatal illness, he had reached the end of the road. Yet, he never lost the zeal to start afresh. Even at an age when most people stay put, George wanted to use his life’s savings to travel the world. An eternal optimist, George’s heart knew no complaint. Yet, there was one regret he couldn’t shake off—missing out on the privilege of being a father. But life has its ways of making dreams come true. Never mind the age, time or place.

He turned around, and in a blink of an eye, he was gone.

Despite being acquainted with Nina’s parents, little did George know of Nina’s illness, until one day when he crossed paths with them in the hospital. It pained George to learn of Nina’s illness. How can life be so unfair? How can anyone bear the pain of losing a child? There is a reason people call smaller coffins the heaviest, George’s thoughts ran amok.

Grappling with life’s tough riddles, George decided to pay a visit to the lonely, little girl. Nina was sitting in a corner, facing the window. Curious, George followed her gaze and realised she was looking at the children playing outside. He smiled gently as if he had found a way to make her smile. He turned around, and in a blink of an eye, he was gone.

After two days, there was a knock on the Parkers’ door. Nina’s parents brought her to the door and nudged her to open it. As she pushed open the door, her face lit up. The entire neighbourhood had gathered at their doorstep, chanting the words Hello Nina. Up in the sky, an aircraft skywrote the same words as if the entire town was greeting her. Children ran up to her, forming a big circle around her, giggling, and just so happy. Nina’s unspoken wish had come true. She had friends now. She was a child again, and not just a patient visiting hospitals.

George watched little Nina lost in her world, playing with her new friends. Perhaps, that’s what it feels like to be a father, he thought.

Edited by Shalini K Sharma

  • Yasir Sulaiman
    April 30, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Beautiful!!! And I make this comment being an author and more importantly, a father myself!!

  •    Soulveda
    April 30, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    Thank you so much for the encouraging comment, Yasir.

  • Manash Majumder
    August 1, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    Touching ! Every one of us can do something to alleviate someone’s pain .

  •    Soulveda
    August 1, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    True, Manash. Thank you!

  • Shaji Zacharia
    May 9, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    A well shared thought. Knowing someone from near can make a difference in their and well as our lives. Every father has a large heart for his child…There are many unspoken unfelt wishes in many others in our own homes…


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