Giving Blood

He walked down the leaf–strewn pavement, eyes downcast and lips pursed tightly. The sky was overcast and grey as if reflecting his mood.

 

Leaves were strewn across his path; the yellow, small leaves of autumn; the large reddish-brown leaves of summer, the fresh green leaves of spring. The pavement was grey stone, which only served to make the leaves seem more beautiful.

 

The air smelled of fresh pine and tasted of the earthy scent of forests.

 

A cool air was blowing making the leaves match his pace as he walked with his hands in his pockets.

 

The ground felt rough but the good way; the kind that makes you feel as if you are being given a foot massage.

 

He felt all of this but none of it registered in his head. All he could think of was the scene that had just transpired.

 

A smartly dressed woman led him to a desk where a jovial, jolly woman in a blue suit was seated.

“Hi, are you here for…”

He finished her sentence with a small smile, “Yes.”

She handed him a folder with a yellow paper and a white paper filled with writing in official print, “All right, you need to read this and then put your name and signature at the bottom.”

“Right. No problem.” He picked up a black, slim pen from the collection at the small table with was covered with a cloth made of a soft vellum material.

“Take your time. You can go and fill this there if you want, just be sure to return it to me.”

He took a seat and started reading those documents.

 

The turmoil in his head interrupted his flow of thought. Anger. Sorrow. His fingers curled up into a fist and skin on his palm turned white. His eyes were blank and emotionless. If he had grey pupils, one would have thought staring into his eyes was like staring into thunderclouds. Alas, his eyes were the black of oil. Or so he thought.

 

In a bright tone, she asked, “You all done?”

“Yes mam,” said he.

“All right then. Take a seat. I’ll send someone over momentarily.”

A pause. Then he went to the seats that were arranged so methodically and eventually, someone came over.

The rotund lady in the dress said, “Follow me please.”

They went to a hastily set up cubicle not unlike that in a classic, run-off-the-mill office.

 

Again came that pain of two emotions rolling and tumbling in his head. Bursting to the brim. A brief stab of pain in his head. The real headache would come later. Now, it was just the shock that was slowly sinking in.

 

“Have you ever had vaccination shots?”

“No.”

“Polio?”

“No.”

She scratched off a couple of lines.”

“Hepatitis?”

“No.”

“Allergies?”

“I have asthma.”

She scribbled that down on a yellow notepad in front of her.

“How long have you been living here?”

“I live in Pakistan. I have just come here for a summer program.”

“Right. Okay.”

A pause. Then, “Did you get a coupon.”

Imagine a gorilla scratching his head with his hand and with a look of bewilderment on his face. I was totally about to do that. I resisted and then said, “Yes.”

She put on a smile, the sort doctors put on when they are about to tell you that you have a couple of broken bones, had a minor concussion, “but nothing serious.”

She said, “I am sorry but the RSD has Pakistan on high malaria risk so you wont be able to give blood today.”

 

The smile alone made him want to break something/ anything. Then there was the matter of his country being a malaria risk. Sure. Sad. Disappointing but he could handle it. To top it all, the lady seemed to think that all he had gone there for was to get the free Dave and Buster’s coupon.

 

Tears were welling up in his eyes as he stood. He held them as long as it took him to get out of the donation area. Then he let them flow. People stared at him but he didn’t care. As he was on the escalator going down, he took the coupon out of his bag. He closed his hand tightly and threw the piece of paper in a nearby bin.

 

And now, he sits in his room typing furiously on his laptop venting out all his emotions, as he is wont to do, by pouring his heart in a story.