A Gentle Human Being

– In Loving Memory of Dr. Wijayagunaratne – Borella Dispensary & Surgery, Sri Lanka –

I hated the wait…
It was a tiny door to enter…
It was a tiny room with too many mothers…
It was a tiny room with too many sick children…
It was a tiny room with too many who cried…
It was a tiny window to see a man who wore glasses…

There was a big door, behind it was the man who knew the cure…
But, we had to take a number, which never seem to go in sequence…

The man who wore glasses, often peeped through the tiny window…
He was stuck in a tiny room, often banging on pills, to powder them…
But he smiled, and gave me sour pills.

They were so sour, I smiled when I chewed on them…
And I was happy, happy to wait…

The large door opens, and I never knew the number,
But always knew it was my turn…
Because I finally saw the tiny man who wore glasses, smile at me, through the big door…
And I was happy, happy that the wait was over…

There sat the fat man, with a big smile, who looked over his glasses, with this knowing look, as if to say…
“What is it this time? ”
I was happy, happy to see a friendly face..

His Stethoscope was always on the table…
I always could play with it…
It never worked, there was this noise, and that was that…
He had given up on that long time ago,
I mean he lost his hair trying to figure that shit out…

He used his fingers,
To touch my wrist, and give a little squeeze…
To touch my armpit, and give a little tickle…
To touch my chest, and give a little tap…
To touch my back, and give a little pat…
To touch my forehead, and give a little knock…
To touch my neck, and give another tickle…

Then he wrote scribble on this tiny piece of paper…
No one could read, except for him, and the tiny man who wore glasses…

And we say goodbye, only to wait a bit more…

Then comes the tiny man, peeping through the tiny window…
Giving us the bag of cure, and say something to mom, God knows what..

Sometimes it was white cream wrapped in a plastic…
Sometimes it was yellow cream wrapped in a plastic…
Sometimes it was violet liquid, in a tiny dark bottle…
Sometimes it was pink liquid, in a tiny white bottle…
Most times it was some packets of powder, and oh boy we hated those…
Often what doesn’t go in the bag happens to be…
“Bathe your son before Noon, stand him in the Sun until he is dry, give him some coriander seed boiled with ginger, and some tree roots boiled with water, and give him a teaspoon of sugar at the end”

I knew the sequence all too well,
I was always a sick child,
Hated the sequence, but wanted the sugar.
The fucking trick worked every time…

It was indeed the Cure…

I heard the fat man died,
and God knows what happened to the tiny man…
And what about their glasses, and that bloody Stethoscope!!!

– Nim –

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