They Met as Two Strangers in an Elevator but Left as Family
--by Abbajii, posted Aug 12, 2016
He was feeling better after the medicines, and was told by the doctors that it was most probably a flu which would get better in a few days. I sat by his bedside joking and talking about life in general and since the nurse thought that he should rest I said goodbye and got out. I got into the lift and started reading the health information poster on the wall of the elevator and when it stopped on the next floor a well-dressed elderly lady got in. I just nodded and smile but continued reading the poster. There were only the two of us in the elevator.
I was woken from my distracted mind when I heard her soft voice saying you look very smart in your suit young man. I only then felt her real presence. I asked her if she was visiting someone as she looked very well and calm, to which she said that she had come to see her doctor. She said how she was exhausted after all the waiting and the test and just hoping. I don’t know what prompted me -- if it was her compliment, pleasant nature or because she reminded me of my mum, I asked her if she would like to have a cup of coffee as I was planning to grab one myself before I went home. Her face broke into a smile and said that she would really appreciate that and then I said what about something to eat, yes she said because she had not eaten after breakfast.
We both went into the Cafeteria on the ground floor, I asked her to grab two seats for the both of us. I went to the counter got a large sandwich and a coffee for her and a coffee for me, went back and sat next to her. She apologized for taking her time and I said that I had plenty of time as I had nothing particular to do for the evening.
I gingerly asked her if she had a family and she started to tell me all about herself like a lake waiting to burst. Her name was Maybel. She was a widow, her husband was a good man who had provided adequately to take care of her financial needs. They had a son who was well placed in a city little far from ours and had a hectic life involving his business. He hardly seemed to find time to visit, her. She has been having troubling back pain for which she had seen her doctor earlier and done some tests.
Today she had come to know her results and she was told that she has a tumor in her back which needs surgery. Doctor was not sure if it was cancer or not. When she told me this her face crumpled and tears flowed down her face, in spite of being in a crowded cafeteria, I hugged her until she stopped crying. She kept apologizing but I assured her I am happy to be with her and I am in no hurry. I waited until she finished eating her sandwich and then asked her what she was planning to do. She said that she has decided not to trouble her son and go through the operation without telling him.
I held her hand in mine and told her that if she was my mother I would be very upset if she went through an operation without telling me. She seemed undecided but I made her promise that she will let me know if she is having the surgery without her son near her, because I said I can be with her when she goes in and comes out of surgery. She kept thanking me and squeezing my hand. We both decided it is better to go home and take some rest, we were headed in the opposite directions. I gave her my phone number, noted down hers walked to the taxi stand, and called a taxi. Before she got in I gave her a big hug and asked her to keep in touch when she needed even if it is just for a chat.
I went home and kept thinking about her and drifted to sleep. Next day was the usual Friday frenzied activity but by lunch time I could not wait any longer to find out what she had decided. I heard her soft voice as she answered the phone which sounded cheerful when she knew it was me. I asked her what she had decided and between sobs she described to me how she had called her son after she reached home.
Her son immediately said that he would arrange to fly her to the city where he worked so that she can have the surgery in a big Hospital there. Her son was very happy that he could take care of her. She kept thanking me and saying that if I hadn’t convinced her she would not have contacted her son. I said a silent prayer of thanks and thanked my good fortune of having been alone with her on that Hospital elevator.