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Little Green Fresh Plant

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I never wished to be a doctor, an astronaut, an engineer or a teacher, my first wish was to be a good person. I wanted to be able to help people, to be someone other look up to, to be the example parents used as a role model. I wanted to be kind and fair, to bring a smile on each and every face. I didn’t know about fake smiles or crocodile’s tears. I was naïve.

With time I realized being good isn’t enough. If you are good people think you are weak, gullible even. No, I had to be good and strong. Except I didn’t know strong. My examples for strong people weren’t the same as good. Where those in power, strong? Kings were strong. Some were good even, but the strongest of kings were ruthless. Or was being the on with most physical strength meant being strong? No, because even the biggest of bullies were afraid of the monitor in the class. So, for the nine-year-old me, it was clear, power makes you strong. 

I remember walking towards by building, sweaty and lunged back after a long day at school. I sipped water from my almost empty bottle and slowly paced on when I saw my mother hurriedly walking towards me. I could see she was agitated. It seemed like she was in between making my lunch, on thought of which my stomach grumbled, for still had flour in her hair. She held her purse in one hand and took me by the other. Some parents came to take their children from the bus-stop till home, but mother had never done this before. Was I in trouble?

“We need to go, come.” She pulled me as she walked. I was tired but her voice was strained. I didn’t argue as I followed her, skipping few steps to keep up with her. She called for a taxi and we got in. I didn’t register where we were going, thinking about my lunch. My stomach must have growled for my mother looked at me, “I will get you something to eat once we reach the hospital.”

The sentence floated in the air. We were going to the Hospital. I had never been there; it would be new experience but probably a tensed and sad one. I looked at my mother, she held my hand tight, but I could see how worried she was. I wanted to ask what had happened but my throat felt dry. I shifted in my seat; she removed my backpack so I could sit more comfortably. I leaned on her in the longest taxi drive in my life. I heard her muttering prayers, I did too.

She held me close as we walked to the reception. She stated her identity and we were sent to the waiting lounge. My father was already there, tapping his foot. He got up when he saw us and hugged me and my mother. 

“How is he? What did the doctors say?” She asked him.

“They are operating on him.” We sank into the seats. It was my brother. I wanted to know more but I could hardly ask. For the first time, I saw tears on my father’s eyes. He cupped his hands on his face, my mother consoled him. 

I stayed silent, fixating my attention to the plants in the corner. One of the small plants was green and fresh while others seemed withered away. In school we had learnt about a scientist who experimented on plants, he kept two plants in different rooms. While watering them, for one he would encourage it, say positive things while for the other he would scold it. Soon the latter plant died. Perhaps the plants here had heard laments of so many families that they died. As I looked at the small green plant all I thought was how strong this little one was.

My mother got me noodles and tea for father. She seemed paler as she sat down, praying again. Hours passed, my parents went time from time to ask for news, or attended to calls from time to time. Soon, my eyes felt heavy and I drifted off. 

I don’t know for how many hours I was asleep; I woke up to a discussion between my parents. 

“We can’t lose hope.” It was my mother’s voice. It was weary, yet determined. “He can do this, and he will need our full support. We can’t doubt him or ourselves, we have to be strong.”

“How? He lost a leg, it’s not something you can ignore it. Forget his sports career, he will have problems even finding a job! Who told him to jump in front of that stupid car, I—There has to be a way, this can’t be—What are we going to do?”

I didn’t move or make a sound. I felt cold. Just yesterday I was playing football with my brother, for me it was impossible to even imagine him in a wheelchair. 

“All I know is we can’t be weak. What he did was—He saved the little girl’s live, we can’t—He did what we have taught him to do. He was helpful. It’s our fault.” My mother’s voice was shaky, I silently opened my eyes. Father held her in his arms, she sniffed, cleaning off the tears. “He can do this. He is strong and we have to be. It will be okay.”

I heard a long sigh, “It will be okay. He is our son and we will always be there for him.”

Mother decided to spent the night with my brother at the hospital, my father and I came home. He made us dinner. I asked him when I could see my brother, he said soon and dismissed the subject. 

For the next couple of weeks, I was the most model child I could be. I didn’t disturb my parents, did my homework, and got ready for school. One day, I even made my own breakfast. I would spend any free time making cards for my brother, I missed him dearly, but still hadn’t met him. I cleaned his room, even took some posters down to send it to him.

My parents would take turns to stay in the hospital. It was a slow recovery, but it was steady. When I did meet my brother, he seemed better than what I had imagined. I accompanied him to his physical therapy where I cheered for him as he tried to stand properly. His room was covered with flowers and the cards I had sent. There were even some cards from others. Soon, he could come home.

Relatives would come to meet, encouraging him and my family but I heard them in their hushed voices about the problems my brother would face in the future. The ridicule he might become. Anger boiled inside me but I said nothing. For me, he as the same brother. Instead of playing football in the garden, we played while sitting in the couch.  

My parents had it worst, I saw my mother’s hand grip around my father’s get tighter every time someone said how difficult things can get. But they didn’t let it affect how they behaved with us. We still went out in the weekends. We played board games, had movie nights and went to restaurants. My brother and I got scolded for incomplete homework or if we broke something while playing with the ball inside. We became immune to the murmurs and soon they stopped. 

I knew losing his foot was a huge deal but he never made it seem like it was. Our parents had treated the situation with so much care and support that it didn’t feel like the elephant in the room. There were times when they worried but my brother and I took those moments to be more supportive. 

Years later, as I helped my brother pack for college, I saw a box full of the cards I had made for him when he was in the hospital. I laughed about the mis-spellings in them to which he said “If it wasn’t for those, I wouldn’t know how badly you needed me to help you with your studies, I just had to get better.”

It took me time to realize what being strong actually entailed. It isn’t about power or has anything to do with physical strength. Being strong meant to be comfortable with who you are. It meant to be there for others when they need you. It meant betting on yourself. It meant to see the best in situations and ignore the murmurs and comments made behind you. It meant to acknowledge your fears but not let it take the best of. It meant to make people feel special and capable of themselves. It meant to be there to lean on. Being strong meant to be like the little green fresh plant among all those withering and dying ones.

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12 thoughts on “Little Green Fresh Plant

  1. Amazing ✨

  2. One of the best things I’ve ever read.

  3. Very touching!

  4. This is soo greatt!!

  5. Strength is portrayed so accurately here! Superb.

  6. · June 4, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    The relationship between the siblings <3 and the strength and support from the parents!!

  7. Amazing💗💗

  8. This was really good!

  9. Amazing 💗

  10. Heart touching story… beautiful

  11. Well done, you.

  12. This is such a beautifully portrayed story. Could visualize all the scenes.. the whole story. True definition of being strong.