Today was the most beautiful day of my life.
I became a mother today. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. And I am not saying that she is beautiful because she is my daughter. The whole hospital wing’s nurses said that she was the most beautiful baby they had ever seen. Her almond-shaped eyes are like a gateway to heaven. Her innocence is reflected in every feature of hers. I am so happy and so is Zean. I have never seen him happier, not even at our wedding. He just adores our daughter. We have decided to name her Jeannie after Ralph’s daughter. And guess what? Ralph is flying in tomorrow to bless Jeannie. I’m looking forward to talking to him again so much.
As I closed my diary and put it on the bedside table, I felt pleasure and excitement for our new beginnings. I looked towards Zean who was sleeping, sitting in the chair itself, and then towards Jeannie in her crib. I felt complete. The contentment gave way to a feeling of immense gratitude to God, and of course my mentor, my guide –Ralph, my barefoot Doc.
I snuggled deeper into my hospital quilt and my mind wandered to our first meeting, three years back at Santa Marina. Perhaps it was coincidence that he happened to be there that same evening or perhaps it was my destiny.
As I sat on the beach that day, and watched the waves come and go, I felt a sort of resentment towards the sea. I hated it to be so huge to unsettle the sand and take it into itself. I felt resentment towards the birds flying so high in the sky. I hated their merry chirping which unsettled my gory feelings. I hated the young child making a sandcastle that would be washed away by the next huge wave. I thought of warning the child, but something cold and crass inside me awoke and I thought ‘Let him get what he deserves. Let his castle be destroyed. Serves him right to be so happy ’. A tear glistened in my eye. It was starting to drizzle and I was happy that I would be able to pass off my tears as rain.
Then suddenly from nowhere, this man came and sat two rocks distant from me. As I took a quick glance at him, I assumed him to be around 50 yrs old. Though he was wearing normal clothes, there was a difference in the way he carried himself. He had a presence, if you know what I mean. When he saw that I was looking at him, I quickly averted my eyes. Afraid that he would strike a conversation, I decided to go back to my hut.
There was a blizzard for two days after that. I was happy. The weather suited my mood and gave me something to mope about. Finally, unfortunately, the weather cleared up. The sun shone again and my mother, in the hope that my mood would improve if my surroundings changed, pushed me out of the hut. I did not have the energy to argue, so I just left.
As I took my place on the rocks, the same man suddenly came and sat beside me. He was in normal attire; the only thing strange was that he was barefoot on the hot burning sand.
He spoke first.
“Hello, I am Ralph. Ralph Hookes.”
I realized there was no getting away. I had to be cordial.
“Hi. I am Sinara”
He said” Nice name. Definitely unusual.”
“I need to go for a walk. It was nice meeting you. ”, I said, hoping he would take the hint and leave me alone.”
“Sure. Would you mind if I join you?”
“Umm… I guess not”, I replied. I decided that I couldn’t exactly tell him on his face that I wanted to be alone.
As he talked to me, I came to know that he had come along with his daughter for his annual holiday. He was an accountant. I couldn’t help asking him why he was walking barefoot on the hot sand.
“Well I think you will find this stupid, but actually it makes me feel good. It is one of the main elements of my sand theory”, he answered.
By this time my curiosity had got the better of my sardonic attitude. I asked him,” Sand Theory? What is that?”
Ralph looked a bit sheepish and replied,” Well, I believe that sand is the origin of human philosophy. Sand is time, sand is relationships, sand signifies life.”
He paused a bit and said,”Well if you join me for a cup of coffee, I’ll tell you more about my theory.”
I thought for a minute, but again my curiosity got the better of me and I said yes.
We moved into the nearby coffee shack and found two corner seats where we could talk undisturbed. As the waiter served coffee, he started speaking, ”I believe that sand is the simile of life. My three main elements of sand theory are like this.
Secondly, I believe sand symbolises relationships. The tighter you hold on to sand the more it falls out of your hand. It is the same with relationships. Sometimes you just need to let it go. You can’t hold on too much. As the old adage goes ‘If it comes back it was yours, if it doesn’t it never belonged to you’
Thirdly, and maybe the most important, sand has taught me to move on in life. Have you ever stood at one particular place near the sea such that the waves are rushing in and out from beneath your feet? Well if you haven’t, then try it. You will realize that sand covers your feet and you feel you are sinking. It is exactly the same in life. If you keep standing at one place, you are destroyed. Life is all about learning how to move on and leaving unfortunate incidents behind.
Sinara, are you okay? Are you listening?”
I was speechless. Without saying a word, I ran back from the shack to my hut. By the time I reached my room I was in hysterics. I let myself cry for a long time. Then after I had cooled down, I decided to try it. It was a signal from God. Everything fitted so perfectly. I took off my slippers, went down on the beach and started walking.
I had never been sad or depressed as a child. In fact I had had a very happy childhood. At 20, I was in my third year in bachelor of mathematics, studying my passion. I was the captain of the women’s basketball team and the assistant editor of my university newspaper. I had a perfect boyfriend, Roy. A perfect life in all.
But 22nd May changed everything. As I was coming back from a game with Leese, a co-player and a very good friend, on her motorbike, we had an accident. Miraculously, I was saved as I fell on the road but Leese fell with the motorbike into the valley. I escaped the accident with a slight head injury and a ruptured spine, but Leese was dead. I became well with 2 months of hard physiotherapy. But I couldn’t play basketball anymore and had to wear a brace for an year.
Though my physical condition improved considerably, I never recovered emotionally. I couldn’t accept that Leese was dead. She had always been so lively. She was the chirpiest girl on our team and I somehow could not come to terms with her absence. Perhaps I felt guilty that I was alive. I don’t know. But my attitude changed considerably. My grades dropped, I stopped caring about college. I became over possessive about Roy. But that was the time I needed his support most and that was the time that he left me, saying he had found someone else. I was distraught. I broke off from everyone, even my parents. Then as my summer break approached, Ma and Pa decided to take me to the beach to stay, as I had loved beaches as a child.
I stopped walking. I sat on the same rock on which I had sat a few hours before, but I was not the same I washed my feet in the sea. I purged myself of so many parasitic emotions- my hatred for Roy, my guilt of being alive, my disgust that I had developed for anything and anybody merry. I realized that Leese wouldn’t like me living my life like this. I realized the amount of hurt I was causing my parents with my behaviour. Something changed inside me that night.
As the sun’s rays streamed in the next morning, I rushed to Ralph’s hut, which he had pointed out to me the evening before. As he opened the door with groggy eyes, I gave him a hug and thanked him for telling me his sand theory. I told him,” You know Ralph, you were my doctor last night. You cured the deepest incisions in my emotions. Thank you, thank you so much, my Barefoot Doc.”
The next year I met Zean. We got married and the rest is history.
I again looked at Zean and Jeannie sleeping peacefully and decided to say a silent prayer of gratitude to God for everything-for Jeannie, for my rebirth, for sending me my angel- Ralph, My Barefoot Doc.
COMMENTS: I wrote this in 12th standard; the part I like best in it is the one about moving on in life. I believe the story can be improvised upon a lot in the way of its presentation. There are lots of things which can be expressed without saying them outrightly which I haven't done in this. I was scared about it being any good at all but got tanvi’s approval so I decided it was at least some good writing it. I know its still fart:D:Dbut I guess I can be excused as I was quite young that time.