I look over to the clock above our couch and see that it’s past 4 p.m. I run to the living room and turn on the TV. Shoot! I missed the beginning of the episode of Arthur. I settle my little body into the couch and try to play catch-up. Apparently, Arthur and D.W. are arguing about how loud their TV is. D.W. isn’t able to hear very well, so her dad takes her to the doctor to get treated. At first, D.W. seems scared. I don’t blame her – I would be scared, too, going to the doctor. But the doctor was really nice and at the end of the episode, he rewards D.W. with a “special popsicle.”
I want a “special popsicle,” too, I said to myself. My thought was soon interrupted when Papa drove up in our blue Nissan Altima. My little sister, Sukhmani, and I ran to Papa and hugged his legs as he walked through the door. He picked up Sukhmani and asked me if I had eaten yet. I told him no, but Mama made dinner. Papa walked towards the dining table as Mama started making a plate for him. As I ate my dinner, I couldn’t help but think about that “special popsicle.”
I figured that since D.W. got her “special popsicle” when she went to the doctor, I had to go to the doctor myself if I wanted one. With that in mind, I started to plan.
Later that evening, Papa was sitting on our couch watching TV. He saw me coming down the stairs and started to smile, but then frowned midway.
“What’s wrong, Simran?”
“My tummy hurts.” I said as I focused on looking unwell.
Papa’s frown deepened, “Where does it hurt?”
“It hurts everywhere. And my head hurts, too.”
“Get up and put your shoes on,” he said. “We’re going to the hospital.”
I jumped off the couch and ran towards the shoe rack. I stopped dead in my tracks as I forgot that I’m supposed to be looking sick, so I quickly refocused. Papa and I began driving to the hospital. I couldn’t help but feel the butterflies running wild in my tummy, and I found myself smiling.
The air was stuffy and stale as we walked through the corridor of the hospital. A nurse asked us to sit in the waiting room, and as we made our way there, I noticed someone from the corner of my eye. An old man, even older than Papa, was smiling at me as he sat in the waiting room. He had milky white hair and gleaming, pale blue eyes. He wore a white long sleeve shirt underneath a dark grey vest, just like my grandpa does. I shyly smiled back.
A nurse soon came and lead the older man through the corridors of the hospital. Soon after, Papa and I were walking through the same hallways the old man already passed through.
As we entered the patient room, the old man was in the room. There were needles in his arm that hooked up to a big blood bag. Though the older man grinned at me as I entered the room, his eyes weren’t gleaming anymore; they seemed in pain.
As the nurse proceeded to take my height and weight measurements, I heard a strained voice in the background.
“You’re a very brave girl,” the old man said.
Uneasiness started to fill me as I took in his sagged shoulders, the tightness around his face, and the needles in his arm.
“You’re very brave, too,” I said quietly.
The nurse then lead me and Papa to another room to see the doctor.
The doctor came in shortly after and greeted us. He began asking me questions, but I just looked to Papa.
The doctor proceeded to ask me where it hurts, as he felt the sides of my neck and tummy. Throughout the entire check-up, I couldn’t help but think of the old man. How long would he need to have those needles in his arms? How long would it take for him to get better? Where was his family during all of this? I knew for sure I would not be able to go to the doctor without having Papa with me.
The doctor went back to the clipboard and started writing stuff down. I suddenly remembered why I was at the hospital in the place. I waved my hands to Papa, signaling for him to come over to me. I whispered to him, “Can I have my popsicle now?”
The doctor overheard and started to laugh. I succumbed to my urge to hide behind Papa’s legs. Papa looked down at me and asked if I was really hurting.
I shook my head.
Both the doctor and Papa continued to laugh.
The doctor asked the nurse to get me a popsicle and asked me what flavor I want.
“Red,” I answered.
With the popsicle in hand, Papa and I started walking through the hallways. We walked by
the room the nurse took me to first, and I noticed the old man still in there, hooked up to the needles, looking somber. I found myself stopping and just looking at the man.
I began walking towards the older man, and I heard Papa yelling my name loudly as he followed me into the room. Familiar blue eyes gazed upon me as I entered the room.
“Hello,” the old man said, now with a smile.
“Hi,” I said louder this time.
His already strained voice got quieter as he asked what I had in my hand.
“I have a special popsicle!” I replied. “It’s supposed to make you feel better – I want you to have it,” I said as I extended my arm towards him.
I noticed tears in the old man’s eyes start to form, and I suddenly felt bad. I didn’t mean to make him sad. The corners of his mouth then shifted up and he was smiling again.
“Thank you,” the old man said as he took the “special popsicle” in one hand. He needed the popsicle more than I did. Papa then proceeded to take me back out into the hallway. We made our way home, hoping the older man would be doing the same soon.
About the Author: Simran is an avid traveler who enjoys hitting up local food joints anywhere she goes. When she’s not across the world, she is most likely conducting an experiment, reading, drawing, or watching Investigation Discovery with her family.
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