One day, a young man stumbled down a neighborhood street. He was exhausted from working in the sun all day and could barely keep his legs under him. Sweat soaked his T-shirt and his nose was charred pink from the sun’s rays. He came to a small house that had a white picket fence that he used to lean on and rest. His leaned his back against one of the corner posts and slid down it slowly as he wiped the sweat from his eyes. He could walk no further; he would sit and wait. All the while, various people walked around him and stepped over his out stretched legs. No body looked down; no one was interested.
From behind him came a voice, small and fragile. “Would you like a glass of milk, young man?”
He slowly turned his head towards the house and peered through the fence. An aged women was at the door of the home. Her smile was inviting and inspired the energy enough to slowly get back up on his feet. He zig zagged his way to the door of the gate and fumbled around until he managed to open it. He made his way up the steps to the door where the aged women waited patiently for him.
“Enjoy. You look like you could use it.” She handed the man a glass of milk and 2 pieces of toast. “You look the same build as my son. He is off to college now so he won’t mind if I were to lend you some of his old clothes.”
She returned with a dry pair of clothes and motioned for the man to come inside her home. The man gulped down the last of the milk, threw some bread into his mouth and spun around to head through the door.
“Take your time,” said the aged women as she closed the door to the restroom. The man quickly undid his clothes and threw on the clean and brightly fragranced garments. He opened the door to the restroom and took a few steps towards the exit.
“Thank you for visiting and if you are ever in the area again, don’t hesitate to come on by. Take care of yourself no matter what type of work you do. You were made for more than work, you know,” nodded the aged women.
“Thank you,” replied the man as he closed the door behind him to the small home with a white picket fence.
Many years went by and the aged women no longer served milk and toast from the small house with the white picket fence. She had passed and her daughter, along with a husband and children, enjoyed the home.
One summer morning, humid and hot, the daughter worked to restore the aged women’s garden. As she toiled with the hard earth a pain struck her head, her vision blurred, and she fell back.
“She is not waking up,” whispered one of the nurses. “She is not responding. The tests indicate an aneurysm which requires an extensive and expensive surgery. Keep faith. That is all you can do.” The husband squeezed his wife’s hand and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He sat next to her bed and just listened as the machines breathed and beeped.
The next morning, a team of nurses burst into the room. The husband still had his wive’s hand in his and his head had rested at her bedside all night.
“What is happening?!” he shrieked.
“The Doctor ordered that we prepare your wife for surgery immediately, sir,” replied a nurse. “She will be prepped and in surgery within a few minutes.”
“I don’t understand. The surgery…. It is too expensive….will she survive?” mumbled the husband.
“Her Doctor is the best in the hospital, sir. I would have faith. Thats all you can do.” The nurses rolled his wife away down the long and cold corridor.
Hours had passed and he had not heard anything from the surgery. He had tried to get someone to help him with information and everyone just said, “I’ll look into that for you. Please have a seat.”
The elevator rang then it’s doors opened. Out stepped a man in scrubs who still had a face mask on.
“Are you the husband of the women with an aneurysm?” asked the man.
“Yes. I am. Who are you?” demanded the husband.
“I am the surgeon that operated on her. The surgery was a success. Your wife will be in a room recovering and I expect we can have her back soon.” The Doctor reached a hand up towards the husbands shoulder when all of a sudden the husband took him in his arms. He about lifted him off of the ground. The husband weeped and laughed and wouldn’t let go.
“How could this happen? Why did you do it? I don’t understand. I had already spoken to the hospital and they knew that I could never afford this,” yelled the man in excitement.
The Doctor folded the small mask into a square and stuck it in his pocket.
“Last night, while I was walking out of the hospital to end my day, I noticed you asleep holding your wife’s hand. I came to the door and noticed that next to her bed, on the table, was a small picture frame. I took a few steps closer and recognized the small house and the white picket fence in the photograph. When I picked up the picture I recognized the aged women standing with you and your family in the door way. Who is that aged women and where is she now?” asked the Doctor.
“That aged women is my mother-in-law and it has been many years since she has passed,” replied the husband.
“When your wife wakes up tell her that many years ago, her mother paid for her surgery and for her health with one glass of milk…”