He remembered their promise.
She was a piece of bright sunshine, shining bright even on the gloomy days, with a spark always on handy.
The day she was born, was the happiest day he ever came across. From then, laughter and cries of the little one echoed in the once upon a time, ‘silent house.’
The time which seemed impossible to pass, passed in a blink of an eye with his daughter by his side.
She was inquisitive and curious like any other child.
“Father, Preeti Didi is not in her home for a long time. Where did she go after marriage?” She had asked when she was five.
“Oh baby. She went to her husband’s house. Girls need to leave their parents’ home and move out to their husband’s place after marriage. You’ll also move out to your husband’s house some day.”
“Why only girls? Why can’t boys leave their home and move out to ours?”
He laughed at the deliberateness of this little one.
“Because girls are strong, strong enough to leave their parents and start a new life in a completely different world, strong enough to balance two families and strong enough to handle things more cautiously.” He smiled at her.
“But I am not going to leave you, Father. I’m taking you with me in my husband’s house.”
He couldn’t help laughing at the solipsism of his daughter.
“No dear. I won’t be with you every time.”
“But I will always be with you, every time.” She blankly stared at him.
“Always?” He carried her off the ground.
“Always!” she answered.
Now, 20 years later she was lying in bed inside the ICU, with incubators.
“We are waiting for you to say ‘yes’, sir.” He heard someone say.
He turned around to see his nurse.
His eyes had filled up with tears.
“How can this happen to her? She just brought me lunch this morning and I put a Dashain tika on her forehead just few hours ago. How didn’t maa Durga protect her?”
“I’m so sorry sir but accidents like this happen so suddenly.” She tried to console her. “But like this, she is only going to suffer more, let her rest in peace.”
“How can I say ‘yes’ to take the life of my own daughter?” he cried.
“I’m so sorry to tell you that she is not your daughter anymore.” She paused. ” The person you knew is already gone. Her body is only breathing because of the machines. Let her go, sir.”
He closed his eyes. This was the toughest decision of his life; to let the most beloved one to let go.
“Okay.” He whispered silently.
“But I don’t want her heart. Give it to someone else.” He muttered with hesitation.
“Sir, I know this is tough. But you are on the top in our donor list and you have waited for over 5 years for a heart transplant. Sir, please! we are never going to get a better match for you.”
He looked at her frantically. “How am I going to survive with the heart of my daughter beating inside me? With all day and every day, only with regrets and reminiscence of her! Every beats telling me that ‘I took the life of my own daughter to give a life to myself’. No, I don’t want her heart. I can’t be selfish.”
The nurse approached him cautiously, “Sir, I won’t say I understand how hard losing a child is for a parent but I understand how hard losing a parent is for a child. I lost my mother 2 months ago and it was the most difficult period of my life. Her death was sudden. If I had known about this earlier, I would have done everything to save her. I would have even given my own heart to her. Because she was my everything.”
She glanced inside the ICU.
“And if now, your daughter was conscious, she would probably want to help you, because you are her everything and she made a promise right? ‘always!’ ”
He stared at his incubator covered daughter.
“But I will always be with you, every time.” He remembered her saying 20 years ago.
“Always?” He asked.
“Always!” she answered.