By Sandhya Nag:
The weather was warm, the coffee exactly the way he wanted it, but this was not what Nick had expected. He had not expected someone of that age to come and meet him in person. And he certainly hadn’t had the slightest idea why the man wouldn’t just speak out the terms. He had insisted on Jason reading the letter, and walked away, not even staying long enough to finish the coffee. When Nick opened the letter, the contents of the letter and the handwriting had no connection, it seemed, because only an angelic hand could’ve scripted the words in the way they were, but the content, the content! He had to make a decision. And, he made one.
Walking away was not a choice he could make, simply because this was about his daughter. When somebody was offering what he could not afford, he wasn’t going to turn it down, even after knowing the price he had to pay. He knew that everything comes at a cost.
Kendra, a devout Catholic, had her hands joined in prayer. The old man in the last row watched her silently. He’d been a witness to her grief, and he knew what had to be done. For him, it was a simple transaction- he had a problem, and so did she, and now, they were going to be each other’s solution. But of course, she wouldn’t know that. A frail and emotional mother would not understand that everything comes at a cost.
Coffee mug in hand, lost in thought, Jason didn’t look anything like the responsible elder brother that he actually was. The nice part was, he didn’t take life too seriously, which was just as well. The doorbell rang, and he went to answer the door. He was surprised to find his father standing there, his shoulders weary. He couldn’t remember the last time his father had done that. Not one day in those twenty years of his work.
Nick walked in, and pulled his son by the shoulders. Looked long into his eyes, and then gave him that letter. Jason didn’t understand why, but he didn’t speak a word, because he knew his father wouldn’t listen. He looked like a man on a mission, and nobody could stop him. Jason tried hard not to show the tears as he bid goodbye to his father. It seems, he’d just learned, everything comes at a cost.
Sandra slowly opened her eyes… Now, she could feel the light hitting her eye, and it hurt. But they’d promised her that this would be her last visit. They’d told her that they’d found a match and she’d be getting a bone marrow transplant.
Sandra was 12 years old, a thin, frail-looking girl, and hardly knew her father. The only people in her life were Kendra and Jason. Nick would come home to find Sandra sleeping, and his work demanded that he leave before Sandra woke up. She hated the fact that she had to visit the hospital every fifteen days, hated it that her blood had to be transfused every 15 days, hated the pain it would put her through. She knew it was because of her bone marrow-or the absence of it, but she hoped one day she too would be cured just like her brother. But despite her ill health, she mingled well with classmates, had a positive outlook to life and believed in God. Many students in class didn’t even know of her condition, they thought she was frail because she hardly ate anything. But those who knew her held deep respect for her in their hearts. On the outside, she was just another 6th standard kid, who had trouble with her weight.
And today, her wish of having a successful bone marrow transplant was fulfilled.
The time had come.
One- Jason broke the news to his mother, and she broke down. Not that she was very young, but that she had an untouched innocence about her, which was shattered today. It would be months before she smiled again.
Two- Nick walked towards the sacred palace-Pope’s residence. He’d travelled a long way from Rome to arrive at the holy city- yes, Jerusalem. He could not stop if he wanted to, so he marched right on, with only one thought-God loves the sinners. He didn’t have to do nothing, except be physically present anywhere around 100 yards of the Papal residence. His belt of course contained the timed bomb. 2 minutes left. He sat there with a calm composure, knowing his daughter would be well. He’d seen that the bone marrow was a perfect match. The results were all there in that letter he’d first received. 30 seconds… Peace.
And the explosion took everything in and around 500 yards.
Sandra, oblivious to everything, was just happy. She thanked the Jesus that her mother had taught her to believe in and drifted back to sleep. She of course, had a lot of time before she learnt that everything comes at a cost.