We swayed and tottered together, gently.

One of my arms wrapped around his,

The other across his shoulders.

His shaking steps in hospital slippers

Weak in power but deliberate in direction.

 

He was leading this dance,

Though he was incapacitated.

The hospital had a faint aroma,

Blend of antiseptics, room freshener

And sickness.

 

Like any other hospital.

An air, so cold so impersonal.

Yet, full of compassion and care.

There was a rush of shoes

Up and down and across the hall.

Beeps of machines monitoring

The energies propelling life

Of the souls encapsulated in this

Massive life support building.

 

I could hear a soft hum,

Him singing a few words

As we danced closely.

I glanced at his neck, wrinkly,

His skin weathered and worn.

His hair, sparse and soft

A greyish-white monotone.

Shoulders frail, stature smaller

Than the last time I had seen him.

I breathed him in.

 

Despite the sanitized hospital scent,

I could still smell my dad.

That smell so vivid in my memory.

From times he used to pick me up

And patted me to sleep

On his then resilient shoulders.

 

At that moment,

I was taken back.

Back in time to an earlier age.

When he used to dance me around

As I stood on his feet, my palms in his.

 

But just like this dance,

Time moves.

It never ceases to flow, for anyone.

And a moment now becomes ‘remember when—‘

A moment now, infinitesimal,

Fades away in the time bracket of life.

 

– Tanisha Karmakar, Amity International School, Noida

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