Surprisingly for the month of October, the wind was bitingly cold, as John Rozario stepped out from his car. He looked on either side of the road for a traffic policeman, as he had parked the car under a 'No parking' sign. Entering the toy shop, he still kept an eye on the parked car, through the show window bought the Tom & Jerry toy and had it gift wrapped. Sighing with relief, he sped through the rush hour traffic to reach home before eight. Reaching his apartment, he looked up to see no lights in his fourth floor flat. Sighing melancholy, at the thought that his wife Samantha had already left to her mother's place, two blocks away, to celebrate Rachel's fifth birthday.
"You have to confirm before four, whether it is possible to come in time for the birthday party," Samantha had phoned during the lunch hour. "Because I want the party to start by six, as the children of our apartment as well their moms have to be back before eight."
"As of now I don't have any pressing work, and will definitely be before five."
"Don't delay like last year, and do remember to buy her the Tom & Jerry toys."
John winced at the reminder, as he had failed to turn up for his daughter's last year's birthday party in time and the worst part; he couldn't buy her a gift. It was all because of the delay of his Managing Director's flight to Bombay, who called for a sales meeting in the last minute. The meeting stretched on and on and when went out to buy a gift he found that all the shops were closed.
And for this birthday, John was delayed because of an important client's urgent requirement, and he did not have the heart to telephone Samantha again and tell her the reason.
Parking his car, he was walking towards the lift, when the apartment's watchman Elisha came running, holding a birthday card.
"Sir," said Elisha, "I have bought this birthday card for my daughter Esther. Could you please write her name on it?"
"Birthday!" exclaimed John, "Is today her birthday?"
"Yes Sir," smiled Elisha, "Today is her sixth birthday. If her mother was alive she would have celebrated it with a cake and a gift. Poor thing, I am only giving this card."
John wrote the name and gave it back to him with a smile. Opening his flat, he saw a note on the table.
"Come and join us as at Mom's place even if it's seven. I have brought the Tom & Jerry life size toys, so you please don't have to buy it." Love, Samantha.
Seeing that it's nearing eight, and looking at the gift he brought, he on an impulse decided to give it to Elisha.
Walking over to his cabin he asked, "Where's Esther?"
"Sir, she has gone to bring Dr. Hemalatha."
"Sir, you know, Esther is a blue baby and the doctor is the one who is treating her."
Immediately John felt sorry he asked, because he knew that Esther has a serious heart problem from the time she was a baby, and that Dr Hemalatha from their apartment was treating her.
Giving the gift to Elisha, he made him promise not to tell her who bought the gift and was about to walk out when Dr.Hemalatha walked in with her four year old son and Esther in tow along with a cake and a candle. The five of them sang the birthday song as Esther blew out the candle and cut the cake.
It was when she was opening the gift, that John noticed the change in color on Esther's face. It turned from pale to healthy rosy red. As soon as she saw the Tom & Jerry toys, she cried with joy and jumped up onto her daddy's neck and kissed him again and again.
"Daddy, how did you know that I wanted these toys?"
"Esther, an angel told me to gift it to you?"
Exactly a fortnight after the birthday, John met Dr.Hemalatha in the apartment's lobby, one evening when he was coming from his office.
"Did you notice Esther lately? She has made miraculous recovery?"
"That's pretty good news."
"After her birthday, her recovery was very rapid. It's a real miracle."
John listened attentively as the doctor explained about the terminal illness.
"Methemoglobinemia is a disorder characterized by the presence of a higher than normal level of methemoglobin in the blood. Methemoglobin is a form of hemoglobin that does not bind oxygen, as a result the patient becomes lethargic and looses mental concentration. Modern medicines play a great role in curing terminal illnesses, but external factors like love and affection from family members and the zest to live, also play an important role."
John listening nodded.
"The grand birthday party had played an important role in her rapid progress. She never stopped talking about the gift. It was a real surprise to her as well as for me, that her father could buy such a beautiful gift. That gift, John, I feel was the turning point."
Reaching his flat, he was greeted by Rachel who came running, shouting, "Daddy"
Never did he felt so happy at seeing his family, that tears clouded his eyes. Luckily, Samantha who has a sharp eye did not notice.
"Before I have my tea, why don't we pray?" said John, which did not surprise Samantha as she was used to such unscheduled prayers.
"Father, thank you for bringing us home safe and sound" The prayer continued and Samantha noticed the change in his voice as he turned emotional, when he prayed for Esther, their watchman's daughter.
".and we thank for the speedy recovery of Esther from her terminal illness. Let the blood of Jesus cover and protect her and may she get back her lost health, In Jesus Christ's name we pray, Amen."
John told Samantha about the gift, "It was such a small gesture, but see the affect it had on that girl."
Victor Jasti lives in India and is passionate about writing short stories based on the Bible and real incidents. He also writes Christian fiction and poetry. Five of his poems were published in Temporal Currents compiled by an American author, Ms. Christine Tricarico.