Drama Sad

Forest green eyes. Why don’t they get the bloody point?

Wadu’s head was throbbing in the exact places which lighted up when he had spent a whole day fixing tax forms and accounting sheets. He had reached the point where he would smash his fist against the long mahogany table, walk out muttering his few choice expletives and throw the fridge open for the only coolant that soothed him.

But he was not done yet. He heaved a long sigh as he held the cell phone pressed against his ear, and his other hand clutching the organ donation form of City Central Hospital.

“This is City Central Hospital. How may I help you?”

Damn, thought Wadu. It was the same annoying voice as before. Could they not switch attendants every half hour or so?

“Yes. This is Wadu. I had called an hour ago?”

“Oh… Well, I’m sorry sir. Could you state your purpose again? I think I might have forgotten you.”

“Huh,” Wadu struggled to keep his irritation under control. “I had called in earlier about donating my wife’s eyes. I wanted to know if there was a choice as to whom the eyes would be given.”

“Oh right,” the girl was not even bothering to pretend that she was recalling the previous conversation only now. “Well, as I said before, we do not take in requests about whom to give the donor’s eyes to. The doctors decide that. That’s the policy.”

“Listen, I called KIMS, and they did tell me about the patients that were due for an eye surgery and waiting for a donor. I’m just expecting the same courtesy.”

“Why didn’t you go with them, then?

“They… uh… did not have the kind of person that I have in mind… that my wife had in mind.”

“Listen Mr. Wadu, how can it matter to whom the eyes go to? You are giving these to them as a gift, as a good deed. How can you prefer to give them to a white boy rather than an old… Indian woman, say?”

Now she was going to veer off towards the morality of the whole business. Just as before. And for the record, it was supposed to be a white girl. With brown, bushy hair like she used to have once. It was not about the colour of the skin or the age, it was that damned memory of her, as she used to be when the both of them were eleven and inseparable.

Wadu hung up and stretched back on his seat. “Green eyes need pistachio ice cream. To not lose the colour.” He wondered how many ice creams he had bought for her. And maybe not all of them helped add colour to her forest green eyes. Most of it might have lodged inside her pancreas. So much so that it swelled like a balloon and was impossible to fix. So much so that there was three simple words and a deadline to it, ‘Inoperable pancreatic cancer’ and three years.

Wadu was rummaging through the pile of papers for Seacrest Hospital’s form when a loud knock was heard on the door.

“Uh… dad, it’s almost time you know. We must get going to the church. Traffic might be heavy today. There was this…”

Kevin’s voice trickled down to just random noise as Wadu kept searching frantically for the form. He had this curse of leaving a paper alone for five minutes only to find that in that time it had managed to hide under the chair or within a bundle of perfectly identical copies. Or so he complained to his wife, to which she always replied- ‘it’s just that you lack awareness.’

Not suck at it, not be a hopeless, irredeemable suck up at it, only lacking in it. Something he only had to reach out his arms and grab on to fix.

Camilla was special. She gave you purpose and put her complete faith in you. She was always at the heart of all things- managing the house, looking after their son’s education. She chopped up the tasks and assigned them to you. She kept everyone’s head clear. Wadu’s purpose was mostly to get money to the table. That was what he enjoyed, and she respected that.

He unearthed the donation form from a large bundle brochures and similar forms. He was getting more and more frantic as he dialled the number.

Kevin gave up trying after the third volley of knocks. He turned to Charlie, a friend of the family, standing beside him, “Mom’s dead, and still he cannot get his hands off his accounting bills.”

“Maybe that’s his way of coping with this. Say, why don’t you get going? I’ll get Wadu and get to the church ASAP. They’ll need you there.”

Wadu was going blind with exasperation as he heard the cell phone ring soar up the seventh time.

“Seacrest Hospital. How may I help?”

“Yes. This is about the eye donation. I had called earlier. Now you said about this woman that needed an emergency operation. Well, I would like to donate my wife’s eyes to her.”

“Oh, that’s kind of you, but it’s the doctors that decide whether the eyes are compatible or not, it is not something you can pick. We’ll see what we can do. So shall we send our team for you? For your wife, I believe?”

Wadu sighed again. This was how it was always with the people he dealt with. Compromises.

“I’ll… uh… get back to you in a second.”

Two other hospitals showed slightly similar promise. He would weigh in the options after that. He had to do this right. It was her last special request to him.

“Wadu…” Camilla was skin and bones, with tubes and wires ensconcing her in a cocoon. The constant beeping from the machines keeping her alive gave Wadu a headache in two minutes.

“I guess I’m all wasted now. We should have biked to Willow Creek once more, huh?” Her eyes stood out, amidst all that torment, it shimmered with life, the last happy part of her.

“Wadu, I want to leave something behind. We have our son, and he will make a brilliant man one day, I can see that… Only, I want, I want to donate my eyes. Everything else rotted away, I’m sure, but I asked the doctors, and they said it was possible, I could donate my eyes…”

Wadu closed his eyes, his mind bombarded with the many acquaintances he had known, all with the only exception that they had her forest green eyes instead. Not welcoming at all.

“Wouldn’t it be nice for a little girl to get these? They will treat her special, buy her pistachio ice creams, and I will get to live through all that again. Mind, I haven’t told this to anyone else. I want you to do this for me, if it’s not much of a bother.” She smiled wanly.

“You want to donate them to a little girl then?”

“Not necessarily, I don’t know how these things work. I’ll ask the nurse more about it. Only, if you can manage it. Wouldn’t that be nice?”

Wadu had made up his mind. It was a necessity.

A louder knock brought Wadu back from his reverie. Dusk had settled in. He could see the orange sky through the blinds. It was too dark now inside his room.

“Wadu, whatever the hell you are up to, open the door this instant, or I’m knocking it down.”

Wadu hurried to the door to find Charlie panting in anger and dismay. “We have half an hour to get there.” Streaks of sweat were piling up over his forehead. “For Camilla’s funeral,” he added when Wadu’s face remained blank.

“But, she’s at the hospital right?”

“She was taken to the coroner’s an hour ago.”

Camilla hated what she had become and insisted on burying her as soon as she died. The arrangements were made, friends and family notified a day in advance. She had made the burden of her burial lighter for them, just as she had managed things when she was healthy.

And Wadu had lost himself in thoughts again. One thing he was asked to do, and he messed it up. There was time left surely? He would always make up somehow. He could, right?

The highway had rows of cars slithering all the way to horizon. As Charlie kicked his car’s boot for the fifth time Wadu was staring at a green Chevrolet Beat, and the lush green leaves of a tree further beyond. And he was trying to tell which shade resembled the green eyes better- the car or the leaves. He couldn’t tell anymore.

December 05, 2020 03:54

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RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

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