The rapidly dimming embers of sunlight cooled against the sapphire sky, colouring the clouds vermillion and magenta. Massive thunderclouds rolled in-seemingly serene, yet fierce and swollen. A humid breeze only Fall could bring rustled the autumnal spectrum of leaves, crunching and snapping as the invisible rush tousled the branches and a blizzard of dead leaves came down, swirling like vibrant flakes of snow. How sad that such a beautiful day should come with such a depressing atmosphere.
Within the Concord International Hospital, a middle-aged man consoles his tense wife as they patiently await the doctor’s prognosis. The hospital waiting room is just as devoid of character and life as Mrs. Burkhardt is of hope. Its walls are simply mauve. Neither crumbling nor old. Just mauve. Save the pot of wilted flowers, the room is blank. The room was perhaps once the kind of mauve that kindled thoughts of vibrant flowers in people, but it was faded to such an extent the hue is insipid. But what more can be expected from a waiting room in a hospital for cancer?
The couple had been waiting, on-edge for a good portion of the day. A good five hours–to be exact. Their attention was focused on the brown door at the centre of the room. They’d been staring so intently at it, no detail was amiss. Not the inch-long scratch on the otherwise perfectly polished mahogany. Not the spider that had remained immobile for as long as their seemingly endless wait. Nor the silence–the deafening, deafening silence.
So when the door creaked open, it was not to anybody’s surprise that they stood up, expecting to see the permanently parallel brows of a grim-faced doctor. A doctor with the answer as to whether or not the couple would live to see plentiful summers to come. One could only imagine their disappointment when an overweight, rouge-faced secretary walked in in her too-small heels. More so when they were so graciously escorted out and told the results of the MRI just weren’t ready.
The park was nothing like those from the smaller towns. The small acre-wide stretch of green was home to Birchwood benches, ornamental bonsai, assorted flowers that never seemed to lose their vibrancy year-round and marble statuettes in clear lakes that were chock-full with Koi Carp. The air had a pleasant calming fee. Which is why the Burkhardts found solace here after the not-quite-pleasant hospital trip.
“You see that tree over there, honey?”, pointed Mr. Burkhardt to a small Juniper sapling. Mrs. Burkhardt turned her head. Her husband’s nonchalant attitude was always appreciated. “What about it?”, she asked, her curiosity piqued.
“That’s my favourite tree in the whole continent.”
“What’s so special about it?”
“That right there is the tree where we find out you’re going to be alright”
“How do you know?” She chuckles slightly as she says this. Almost scoffing at her husband’s wrongly-timed optimism.
With that, Mr. Burkhardt pulls out his phone and just then, it rings, and Mrs. Burkhardt answers it. A voicemail from the hospital. For the first time since their meeting a few fortnights past, they heard the doctor’s raspy voice. And for the first time ever, it sounded almost cheerful. And indeed, he bore joyful tidings.
“Hello, dear Mrs. Burkhardt. How are you? Very good I shall be able to say! Well, I am happy beyond possible to inform you that you will indeed make it to see what I hope to be many, many more summers to come. Concord truly apologizes for the misdiagnosis. I truly hope you shan’t ever have to pay us anymore visits, if you know what I mean.”
And then, the couple wept in the other’s loving embrace. Not tears of sorrow. Tears of joy. For through it all, their love prevailed.