THE WINDOW

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn’t hear the band - he could see it. In his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days and weeks passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside.

He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

Epilogue: There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy.

“Today is a gift, that’s why it is called the present.”

Anon

Richard opened his eyes when he felt a hand grip his leg. A boy stood at the foot of Richard's cot, holding his calf through the blanket. The boy was wearing a black coat with a hood. He had black hair and his skin was pale and almost white, and Richard could see the faint blue veins running along his cheek. The room did not have an artificial light, and the window on the boy's left cast shadows over his eyes. Richard did not move, and the two of them looked into each other's eyes and shadows of eyes.

Richard broke. He pulled his leg out of the boy's hand. He thrust his body out of the bed and ran to the door. The door did not open. The knob did not turn. The lock did not move. Richard shouted for a policeman, for a nurse, for anyone. He pounded on the door. No one answered, and there were no steps or voices in the hall. Richard turned around, and saw that the boy had not moved. He was still standing in front of the window, casting a shadow across the room.

The boy walked slowly in his direction.

Richard said, "Who are you?"

The boy did not answer.

Richard said, "Who are you?"

The boy did not answer. He was only a few feet away. He reached out to Richard.

Richard whispered, "Who are you?"

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