She’s a real trooper. She forced herself into a smile when I leaned forward to greet her. It was a little past midnight. “Sorry, it took me this long,” I whispered. I wanted to hug her frail body, but I was afraid I might hurt her.
* * *
Upo ka dito, she said, tapping the space beside her.
You need anything?
Wala. Kwentuhan mo lang ako.
It must have felt like eternity for her. I’ve never been operated on before, so I can only imagine what the entire ordeal must have taken from her. Time, precious time, that she could have spent having good conversations…laughter…playtime…stimulating book…soft music…entertaining movie…favorite TV show…delicious meal…heck, even a productive client presentation.
Kwentuhan mo lang ako…on normal days, this request may be considered empty. But in this particular instance, it cried painful longing. You can’t say no to something like that. Not under the circumstances.
* * *
I ran my steel comb through her hair, strands made brittle by dried blood from the operation. She would flinch whenever it gets painful, so I decided to put leave-on conditioner to make her hair more manageable. Thick strands fell off here and there. Flakes of dried blood covered her shoulders and the top of the hospital bed. I couldn’t stand it, but she always loved to keep her hair beautiful. I don’t know how long it took me to tie her hair into a side pony, but when I finally did, I saw her break into a satisfied smile. It was all worth it. I made her feel good again.
* * *
She took a healthy bite off the raisin bread that Max brought her. I knew then she would do just fine. God has been good. As always. A gentle kiss, a faint goodbye, and a glance that meant, “I’ll see you soon.” It was 4:30 in the afternoon.