Dancer

He let out a loud sigh as he bent over to clean the sink. All this moving around played a great toll on his aged back. He grunted as he finished cleaning the mirror-like white sink. As he stood up he turned his head to, once again, observe the heavy atmosphere lifeless empty corridor. The patients were all asleep in their chambers. Not even a mouse made a sound. There probably wouldn??™t be a mouse in private hospital that specialises in cancer research; the only one in this prosperous country.
The small clock hanging high on the plain white wall next to the elevator read 9 o??™clock. It was time for him to go to the ???Intensive Children??™s Section??™ for his daily chore; it was harder than cleaning behind toilet doors.
As he reached the main corridor, his heartbeat quickened. He always felt nervous when he reached this part of the hospital. Past memories flowed through his mind, bringing back shards of his memory best left forgotten.
He turned and in front of him stood a white sliding door. It was just like all the other doors standing in the corridor; just like a mirror. As he pushed the door, a high friendly voice greeted him like an old friend who hasn??™t seen him for a long time.
???Joseph! You??™re finally here; I??™ve been waiting for you.???
Her smiling face seemed so out of place… it was like the heavy atmosphere of the hospital had no effect on her.
???Are you going to read to me again Can you read this for me???
She handed him the book ???Scenery Paintings??™.
???I??™ve already read this three times for you.???
???But I love this book. I love seeing the places outside and hearing about what people do there! Read it for me again.???
Her huge brown puppy dog eyes dug deep into his heart.
???Fine, pass me the book.???
His face looked reluctant as he sat down next to her bed. However, when he started reading, a nostalgic feeling engulfed his mind. The dingy hospital room, usually so foul and cold, seemed to light up. A warm pleasant feeling spread throughout the room; like the warmth spread by a mother and daughter cooking dinner together.
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In this moment they both felt a great sense of belonging. It felt like they were a happy family. Soon she fell asleep. She was smiling. So was he.
As he stood in front of the hospital room, the scene of ten years ago replayed, like a broken video player, in front of him.
???She has been moved to the emergency section of the hospital. I think it would be difficult for you to see her.???
Like a bullet, those words broke through his skin and pierced his heart.
???What do you mean Do you mean that she is she dying???
???Well, her condition was always bad… but now her condition has turned for the worst. She??™ll have to have an operation soon… things aren??™t looking good, the survival rate for…???
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He turned away. He didn??™t want to hear anymore. He already knew. The survival rate for lymphocytic leukemia is less than forty-five percent. He knew all too well; a deep scar in his heart was about to be opened again.
???Please don??™t agitate the patient. Usually we don??™t allow visitors before operations because of safety reasons, but since you and the patient insisted so vigorously… you have ten minutes.???
She was going to have her operation today. This day was just like that one. To him this day was just a replay of what happened ten years ago.
???Joseph!???
The same overly upbeat greeting welcomed him into the room.
???Hey… how are you doing Are you in pain???
???Nah, they gave me some medicine so the pain stopped so I??™m all good.???
He slowly sat down on the chair next to the bed. All was silent. The silence seemed to engulf the whole room.
Bravely, she broke the silence.
???Hey Joseph… I lied. I don??™t have any parents. That??™s why no one except you came to visit me today.???
He already knew about her innocent lie. It was obvious that she was an orphan; she tried so hard to get the attention of all the medical staff. When she was by herself she always looked so lonely.
???That??™s why… when I die no one is going to care. No one cares about me. I have no one.???
He looked down. He wasn??™t good with situations like this. However, he knew that he had to do something.
???That??™s not true. I care about you.???
Her big eyes eagerly looked at him.
???Really???
???Really. I have something to give you.???
From the ground he lifted a large rectangular board covered in a white sheet of fabric. Her confused eyes looked at the board. Bit by bit he revealed what was under the white sheet: a painting. It was a painting of a road through what seemed like a forest.
???This is amazing. Wow, did you paint this… are you actually giving this to me???
???Yeah, I planned to give this to you a while ago but… My daughter painted this.???
???I really like it! Thank you. It??™s so beautiful… I wish I can go there. The only place I??™ve been outside is the hospital garden. Now I??™m going to die.???
???No you??™re not! I promise you after your operation I??™ll drive you to through a forest just like that.???
He voice crack as he felt eyes filling up with tears. It has a very long time since he has been emotional, let alone raises his voice and cry.
She looked up, her eyes filled with tears too.
???I??™ve always thought of a place where you can lean on-to… even for a short moment, wouldn??™t that be a small Heaven Now I have you.???
The door slammed open interrupting their conversation.
???Chloe, it??™s time for your operation; time to say good bye.???
As Chloe turned to face him to say good bye he stopped her.
???There??™s no need to say something as pointless as that. There is no need for you to say anything.???
After exchanging one last heartfelt embrace, Chloe was wheeled towards the operating room. This scene looked like a recording of ten years ago.
Joseph prayed deep in his heart that Chloe??™s operation would end differently to his daughter??™s.

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