"There is nothing you could do about it". That was something that always made me cry when I recalled it for the last few years.
I had heard it since I was a little boy wearing shorts running around in school. One day during our dodge ball practice my friends accidentally hit a girl sitting alone on a bench. It bruised her arm.While the other boys continued playing with no concern, I approached her, sitting nervously at the other end of the bench.
"Are you okay?" I asked.
She rubbed her arm a few times where the ball had hit her and then withholding tears she gave a weak smile "Its ok, the pain cannot be lessened. There is nothing you can do about it"
I handed her my lunch.
Since then we sat together and ate our lunch. She was a sweet girl, always optimistic and had a keen interest in the philosophy of reasoning. Being a small child I noticed this, years later.
Years later when it was raining and we both ran, covering our heads with the heavy medical books our college had recently introduced. She was wearing a full length frock and scarf which invited many an awkward stare but she was oblivious of them. The frock made it quite hard for her to run as well. I was wearing typical blue jeans and a printed shirt which too, sadly, contributed to discomforting stares.
We were running late for the bus and just as we reached the stop, the door closed with a hiss and the bus started moving. I ran after it, dropping my book signaling it to stop but it was futile. As I turned back and picked up a soggy, useless book, she stared at me with a huge grin.
"What is so funny?" I inquired with slight annoyance.
"Nothing, just when you were waving your arms you…" She started laughing.
"What?" I insisted.
"Nothing..." she replied back, still laughing.
I sighed "Well the bus is gone"
She stopped laughing, smiling still "It's not your fault that the sky is crying; there was nothing you could do about it. We will manage some other way"
I laughed; there really was no reason to be grumpy over the bus leaving us behind.
"It wasn't the sky. Your frock is the actual reason we were late" I joked wanting to see her reaction.
She giggles a bit "I guess it is the curse of the frock"
That statement was confirmed when I stood on a well decorated stage, waiting in a tight suit that near choked me. As a newly practicing doctor who was also the most prominent person I had to meet etiquettes. I stared at my watch and sighed; I was very sensitive about meeting rnds on time then. As I stood there, my younger brother jogged up to me and whispered "They are here" and I turned to my left waiting intently.
A smile spread on my face when she entered, wearing a red frock with jewels and embroidery sparkling in the many lights and her face; slightly rosy cheeks and bright red lips complementing the radiant eyes.
She stepped on the stage delicately and sat alongside me on the divan.
"Why are you late?" I asked in a low voice despite the distance between us.
She whispered back giggling "It was the curse of the frock"
I smiled, standing as my uncle approached me with a rather serious face.
"What is it Uncle?" I asked in a whisper.
"I am afraid the maulvi (priest) will be an hour late, he had to attend another marriage first" He told me.
I slumped back, my disappointment showing clearly on my face. She asked me what it was and I told her. She gave a sweet smile "there must be some reason he didn't inform us of the other wedding"
"Whatever reason, he has ruined my mood"
She giggled "Don't be grumpy. What is done is done. No one else will arrive on such short notice so we shall have to wait. There is nothing you can do about it now."
I smiled back, thinking to myself that this was not an occasion to be grumpy on. Nevertheless I went to one side and dialled the maulvi's number and forced a stern enough tone on him to make him hurry though I was partially hiding my anxiety. He still came an hour later.
Covering up my anxiety like this became a common practice for me. When she was to have her second delivery and I waited in the hallway, anxiously calling on the doctor who had taken an unexpectedly long break.
When the doctor finally returned, she gave me an annoyed look but with a smile. I wonder if my wife had told her about my habit or perhaps she was annoyed anyways. "Well I am a guy who is extra anxious and insecure. There is nothing I can do about it" I thought and beamed slightly back at her.
She calmly explained the situation to me.
"It is a boy" and my heart brimmed with relief and joy. My worries soon returned to my wife.
Those worries persisted when she fell down the stairs and in the process broke her leg pretty bad. We sat in the hospital when the doctor came in "How are you doing Ma'am?"
She chuckled slightly "That is some way to address your mother now is it?" and our son smiled, his smile same as his mothers.
"Well I have to be professional. After all I just started this month" he said as he added some notes to his pad.
I stood up reaching for the pad, being a retired doctor now "Any treatment that can help with the recovery? Maybe increase mineral and protein supplements?"
She looked at me and held my hand "There is no need for that. Bones cannot heal faster. There is nothing you can do about it."
"Ah but they do heal faster. At least a bit faster"I said as I squeezed her hand, knowing she was wrong.
That was not the last time she was wrong. She was wrong when she stated "I will get better soon" and looking at her lying on the bed, the wrinkles of her skin adding a distraught look to her usually jolly face.
I grazed my hand to her cheeks and she opened her eyes slightly, the light from the machine next to her reflected in her somber eyes. She smiled still "Hey there"
"Hey" I replied back, smiling gently as my heart beat painfully in my chest "You going to be alright girl?"
She looked at me then avoided my gaze "It doesn't matter does it. This expensive treatment is a waste of the money we saved."
I held her and gently "Your life is more important dear. Even if it costs me everything else"
She smiled sadly but shook her head"What is the need?After all, there is nothing you can do about my condition" I kept standing besides her.
I kept standing besides her as she was lowered into the freshly dug grave, her skin pale and her lips lifeless. All leave as I keep standing there. The nurse hands me over a note. She places a hand on my shoulder and I nod as she leaves me alone with my beloved.
I open the note. It reads:
"Hello my love. I am writing this to you to say what I was unable to tell you during our brief life. Those brief moments that I cherished in my heart.
When I saw you wave your arms under the rain, I realized then that you would be my angel who would take me in his grace and usher me to heaven. And I was totally right. You were that angel.
You made my dreams come true. My dreams that I dreamt since a little boy sat next to me. You gave me what I did not have. A reason to be optimistic.
But what I loved most about you was that even though there was nothing you could do
you always tried to do something. You showed me that unable to change circumstances is no reason to stop trying to change them.
And so I write to you, though I can't do anything about your emotions after I die, but I still try
Good bye my Angel"
"there was nothing I could do" when ever I think over these words that were once my source of comfort, tears fill my eyes. But I guess she was right this time. There is nothing I could do about it.