She watched him hobbling by. Oh how he would hobble. Clutching on to that cane of his. Bent over and just hobbling. Barely able to take one foot ahead of the other, as if nothing else mattered but just getting one foot ahead of the other.
Poor man, she thought. Poor old man.
He watched her running, Oh how she would run. Back upright and straight, knees above , and looking straight ahead. Earphones in her ears, listening to music no doubt, hair in a bun bouncing back and forth. Easily able to skip one foot in front of the other.
Lucky lady, he thought. Lucky lady.
She gazed at him as he silently wheeled by. The hands of the one that pushed him in that wheelchair were sturdy, holding on tight. He wheeled on by purposefully throwing bread to the birds.
He saw her walking. Slowly walking. A turn from her usual, he mused. He was always accustomed to her lively gait, but today, it seemed, no more running, no more liveliness, just a slow steady walk.
She saw him standing. He stretched upwards and then to the floor. No stick in sight, no wheel chair to be seen.
He watched her hobbling. Oh how she would hobble. Clutching on to that cane. Bent over and hobbling. Barely able to take one foot ahead of the other.
Poor lady, he thought. Poor old lady.
She watched him running, Oh how he would run. Back upright and straight, knees above , and looking straight ahead. Earphones in his ears, listening to music, no doubt, hair slicked back, Easily able to skip one foot in front of the other.
Lucky man, she thought. Lucky man.
He gazed at her as she silently wheeled by. The hands of those that pushed her in that wheelchair were loose, barely holding on. She wheeled on by, aimlessly throwing bread to the birds.
She wheeled past him, as he freely ran. He stopped, she stopped and they both turned towards each other.
'Hello', he said
'Hello', said she.
'What happened to you?' he asked
'What happened to you?' she replied.
He took the wheels from the one who was supposedly helping her, and pushed her to a bench where he parked her, and sat beside her.
'My story?' he asked.
'Yes, and mine afterwards' she replied.
'I hated the world', he said. 'I got involved in things I shouldn't have. It didn't bode well for me. It almost destroyed me. But I met someone one day as I lay in the streets, barely able to comprehend my life, or even that which would come after. I asked for help. Realised my errors, and was so sorry for them all. And that someone led me to a place. A place where help was offered, even in the midst of my distress, they were relentless in giving me medicines. They held my hand and showed me love. I tell you, that hospital healed me!'
'And look at me now!' he jumped up, arms outstretched. He looked down at her encased in her wheels. 'Sorry', he said meekly.
'What is your story?' he asked, as he sat back down gingerly.
'Mine?' she laughed. 'I, like you, made terrible mistakes. I was naive, lonely, confused and got involved in something I shouldn't have. But for some reason, I was left to deal with it alone. You see, I was sick for a while, and then I got taken to the hospital just like you. I got better, and was doing really well, but then, suddenly, I got sick again, but this time, because I was already a patient, I wasn't allowed the same remedies. I suppose it was my own fault anyway. Seemingly, there were prerequisites. Once helped, never again. So, I was rejected. Said I should leave and never return. Funny enough ,others had gone through worse than me, but for me it was an absolute no no'.
'Wait, your hospital told you that?' he asked. 'Even the Nurses and Doctors in that hospital that owed you due care in dire moments left you in the time you needed them most?'
'Yeah', she replied, head bowed low. 'I- I guess. Why are you so surprised?
He was silent for a while...
'Did you murder someone?' He whispered.
'What..? No!' she cried out, as she choked on her words. 'Why did you ask that?'
'Hmm, because I always thought hospitals owed people a duty of care, no matter what. Even murderers are offered a life line. In the moment a heart transplant was needed there should have been every attempt to provide one, even if the one in need declined one, even then...no matter what. No matter what'. Every life matters. I'm just in awe that there was no 'lifeline' offered to you.'
He paused for a moment.
'Did you get a carer when you left?' he asked.
'No', she replied.
'Wow. No one at...all?'
'I said no, ok! Stop asking!'
He was saddened. 'What if you had died in the midst of it all?' he asked.
'I guess...I would have... just died'. She shrugged her shoulders.
'And would your hospital have cared for you then? he asked.
'No', she replied quietly, 'I suppose...no, they wouldn't have'.
'Did you die?' He asked.
'I guess a part of me did, yes.'
'Did you need one?' He asked.
'A heart transplant .'
'Yes', she nodded. 'Yes, I did'.
He took her hand. kissed it.
'My 'It' whatever 'It' is, got to me to a better place'. He said as he held her hand tightly in his. 'Even if I 'deserved' the worst, mercy said no'. With that he wheeled her away.
'Come with me' he said, I'll show you what hospitals are like - I'll show you what it's like to help someone, inspite of them. With my help, you'll be up and out of that chair in no time'.
'Thank you', she whispered
'What is your name by the way?' she asked him.
'Sal', he replied. 'Simply call me Sal Vation.