Ali and Minah are a very loving couple. This is an observation commented by practically everyone who knows them. They have been married six years and they still behave as though they were newly-weds.
They are the perfect couple, much to the envy of all their friends. All is an engineer and about two years after his marriage, he had been sent by the Government to serve in the rural and backward areas. Since then, the couple had been living in a very small village in the ‘middle of nowhere’ but their four years there had already got them used to living in such an area. They were well-known for their friendliness, their kindness and also their helpfulness. All these have made them popular in their village.
Things in All’s household had been running very smoothly until recently When Minah started complaining about not feeling well. It so happened that there were no hospitals nor clinics in that village. Their wae only a medicine shop to attend to the ills .and ailments of the people. The nearest hospital was about forty miles away and the difficulty was that part of the journey involved crossing a very wide expanse of water. Therefore, owing to the inconvenience and trouble involved. Minab had refused to go for a medical check-up, even with the persistent persuasion from her husband. Ali, knowing the stubborn streak in his wife’s nature, had to give up his futile attempts.
One evening, Ali had returned home from work later than usual. The reason was that he had been tied up in his work. To his surprise, for the first time in all their six years of marriage, his wife was not there to receive him at the door, no warm or welcoming smile, no one to bring him his slippers, no one to tend to his needs, no one to fuss over him and finally, no dinner awaited him. With his heart in his mouth, he searched the whole house for his wife. His heart missed a beat when he found a slip of paper on the dressing table. There was a message which read: ‘SAYANG, LEFT FOR THE HOSPITAL EMERGENCY; NO TIME TO INFORM YOU. LOVE, MINAH!’ Ali stared at the message in disbelief. He read the message over and over again hoping that he had read wrongly.
The first thought that went to his mind was that his wife must have been taken seriously ill, so ill that she could not even wait for him to send her to the hospital. He blamed himself for not having made his wife go for the medical check-up earlier on. He kept on telling himself that he would never forgive himself if anything was to happen to her. He had not known the real meaning of the word ‘agony’ until that moment.
To make matters worse, he could not make it to the hospital that night as the boat service would only be resumed in the morning. Poor All never felt so worried before in his entire life. He could not do anything at all he could neither eat nor sleep. He spent a very restless night, tossing and turning in his bed, imagining his wife to be suffering at the hospital.
Early the next morning, after gulping down a cup of coffee, he began his journey to the hospital. To him, the minutes seemed. like hours but at long last, he finally arrived at his destination.
You can well imagine the relief on Ali’s face when he saw his wife sitting in the waiting room, looking healthy and fine. He hugged his surprised wife, demanding an explanation for the message that his wife had left him. His wife, puzzled by his reaction on seeing her, told Ali how she had accompanied their neighbor to the hospital as her baby’s arrival was due and her husband was away. She could not return home the same night because of the boat service. Minah laughed at her husband for having jumped to a wrong conclusion and both walked in happily to see their neighbor and her newborn baby.
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