“Finally, I saw her!”
A Soul-stirring Love Story
The morning finally announced its arrival when the sun shone at my transparent windows. Although, Nilesh hadn’t slept all night, counting minutes for the night to end. An exhausted Nilesh climbed out of his squeaking bed to prepare for the day. He attempted not to let his sleeplessness, fatigue, and loneliness get in the way of taking the first step outside his room, crowded with many others.
Nilesh scanned around the room. He shook his head in pity at the sight of several others like him lying around, sweating, panting, and catching a break. They all wanted to get out of there, but they couldn’t. Duty-bound them in place, and even though fighters, they couldn’t fight their way out of that building. Several days, they planned to leave; they fought, cried, and banged at the doors of their destiny to make it stop… to let them out… but in vain.
But on that particular day, Nilesh didn’t want to focus on any of that. He carried his tired legs across the room without jumping on those sleeping on the floor. Even though his body felt like it hadn’t felt alive in six months, he was still excited. He looked into the cracked mirror in the overused bathroom. The crack resembled the one in his heart from now seeing her in such a long time. After splashing his face with some cold water to awaken him from the horror he went through in the past six months, he walked onto the gloomy hallways.
Even though brightly lit, Nilesh felt like the walls would crumple him. The voices of people shouting, screaming, crying, howling hit his inattentive ears. Many people tried approaching him, but he dismissed everyone that day. “Not today, please.” His heart broke when he saw people run up and down the corridors, begging for help. For once, he felt the urge to slip right back into the daunting white and blue suit that he took off after twelve hours. But his crying heart controlled his perplexed mind with the reminder, “You have to see her today!”
Nilesh’s heart raced as the clock’s hands moved closer towards10 O’clock. “Half an hour more, that’s it,” he said to himself. He settled down on a chair in the waiting lounge. The faded walls around him reminded him of the terrible events he encountered in the past six months.
It all started seven months ago when WHO announced the onset of a global pandemic. The virus was out there with its claws out to jab into whoever came in its way. People were dying around the world in numbers that no one ever imagined. With no announcement of the virus’s arrival to change our beautiful, loving world forever and no available treatment, the medical staff found themselves flabbergasted seeing the reality. They gave their all… their literal all… the Healthline workers hadn’t gone home to their families, hadn’t even seen their faces.
Nilesh, too, like every other doctor in the world, faced the challenge in his face and became the protagonist in this soul-stirring love story. The day he left his house, he remembered the day he took an oath to save lives. Since then, he didn’t look back even once. Not even when he discovered that his doctor wife succumbed to the horrendous virus three months ago while treating uncountable patients every passing day.
He went back to the day a colleague called him, “Dr. Nilesh?”
“Yes. Who’s this?”
“I’m Shweta, your wife, Dr. Neelima’s colleague.”
“Is everything alright?”
“Not really, Dr. Nilesh. Neelima is showing symptoms today, and she was not in the condition to take a break and realize what was happening to her. An hour ago, she collapsed in the doctor’s lounge, and… unfortunately, she had tested covid positive.”
“God! Can I see her?”
“Not really. She’s fragile and is sleeping at the moment. A lot of days has passed since she contacted with the virus, so it’s not looking very good at the moment.”
Nilesh sat down on the busy floor of his hospital’s canteen, where he stopped to get some water. His mind oscillated between trying to gather himself for the patients that needed saving and breaking down at hearing about his wife’s condition. A nurse saw Dr. Nilesh clutching his phone close to his ears with his hand on his head. She rushed to check on him. When she heard about his wife’s condition, she helped him up and hugged him. The large PPE kits, shields, masks, and gloves didn’t allow them to get a personalized touch, but her hug helped.
He carried himself back to his patients, with his mind entirely focused on saving as many lives as possible. His duty didn’t give him a chance to think about his ailing wife in a hospital close by. Even though he wanted to run to see her, but he couldn’t… he simply couldn’t leave those who depended on him at that time. By the time the day ended, and Nilesh could check his phone, fifteen missed calls from his wife’s number. He immediately called back only to hear Shweta on the other end.
“Dr. Nilesh, I’m sorry, but… Dr. Neelima didn’t make it. Her oxygen saturation hit an all-time low, and her infection had covered her lungs entirely. What do you want me to…”
Nilesh hung up. He didn’t want to hear any longer. For months, he saved a hundred lives. He knew how bad the virus hit people and also knew that sometimes there was no coming back. But never had he imagined that he or his wife would become a victim of the deadly virus. Even though he wanted time to grieve, he wanted to go home; he wanted to see her, but he couldn’t. Everything was so new at that time in 2020 that he couldn’t leave the hospital in fear of infecting others outside.
Heartbroken and devastated, Nilesh went back to his duty the next day. For the next three months, Nilesh worked endlessly to do his best to save his patients only, so he didn’t have to tell any relative about their loss. Time went by, and nothing changed. But, one evening, restlessness perturbed the hard-working and dutiful Nilesh. He had to see her.
Nilesh arranged for a way to meet her. There was a long piece of glass that separated the hospital’s side gate and the compound. The management said he could see her through that glass and hold her through the gloves attached to the glass.
The alarm on his watch beeped at 10 O’clock. Nilesh dashed out to the glass, waiting to see her. He adjusted his glasses, fixed his hair, and stood against the glass, his legs shaking in anxiety. Five minutes later, he saw her well-braided hair bounce with her jumps as she ran to see him. She looked no less than a princess clad in pink and white ruffles. Finally, he saw her!
“Daddyyyy… I’ve missed you….” she said as Nilesh embraced her through the gloves on the other end.
Six dreadful months later, Nilesh finally broke down in front of his seven-year-old, who was still unaware of her mother’s death. All she knew was that her parents were warriors… which they truly were! Their family’s soul-stirring love story took another turn from thereon, where they had to restart life without their pillar wife and mother.
Through this story, Finally, he saw her! A Soul-stirring love story, Love Smitten salutes every Healthline worker who’s lost their lives, loved ones, and missed seeing their people since the pandemic changed everything around us. If it weren’t for you, there wouldn’t be a huge survival ratio against a virus no one knew would jolt us into the shock we are in!
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