INDIAN AUTHOR SHORT STORY: White Paper Rose

Nikita Singh, Author of Right Here Right Now pens a love story for Cosmo

He sat at the cold metal bench, like he did every morning—wearing a long coat over his hospital robe, tall gum boots reaching up to his knees and clutching a white paper rose in his hand. White was the only paper his nurse could steal away from the hospital stationary. But it was okay. He liked white; it was soothing.

He looked in the direction of the gate of the park. Still no sign of her. He shifted in his seat. Was there something wrong? Every morning, her personal caretaker would wheel her to the park to meet him. He was not permitted to leave the hospital campus, so the park surrounding it was literally the only place he could go to. He was starting to get pretty sick of it, till he saw her one day, sitting silently on the other side of the park by the lake, feet propped up on her wheelchair, shiny white hair tied into a neat bun, hands clasped together on her lap, eyes tired, warm and somehow still happy and sparkly—all at the same time.

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Since then, they had met every morning. Sometimes they talked. At others, they simply sat together, looking at the lake, never asking where the other lived or exchanging phone numbers. They had an unspoken pact—to meet every morning by the lake, till one of them didn't, couldn't, come.

He feared that day was today. He had not seen her in three days. Maybe it has happened.

Just then, he saw her being wheeled through the park gate. Her eyes looked around frantically for a few seconds before resting on him. And then she smiled, lighting up his whole world.

He clutched the white paper rose tighter and limped towards her.

What do you think?

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