Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Jacarandas – a dream

In the year when the Olympic Games were held in Australia, the Jacarandas were in full bloom and their blue blossoms wafted through the air. At the Olympic campus an English boy and an Australian girl fell in love. Every night they would be seen walking through the cool air holding hands. Sometimes they went for long walks, sometimes they would extend their evenings by going to the beach. Then it all came to an end, the athletes going home, the temporary buildings dismantled. Only memories remained, and the records of gold and silver Olympic medals.

Several weeks later the Australian lass found she was pregnant. It was the time before rapid communication; she hardly knew anything about the boy other than his name; and there was no way in in the world she could trace him. She had a baby boy and brought him up as a single mother. He proved to be exceptionally smart, went to medical school, and decided to become a surgeon. Meanwhile the English boy returned to the Midlands, later married a local girl, and had three daughters, all of whom became nurses.

To become a surgeon in those days, Australians went to England, where they took jobs in the provinces to acquire the extensive experience not available at home. The Australian boy went to Nottingham, became a senior surgical registrar, and spent much of his time in the operating room. The nurses were masked during surgery so that only their eyes could be seen. He noticed that one of the nurses had exceptionally lovely eyes. When the mask came off he instantly fell in love with her. Unlike most Australian graduates working in England, he remained there, married his nurse, and had a large family.

Years went by. The now retired nurse had often told her Australian husband that there had been much discord in the family, and that her father, the boy who had once gone to the Olympics, had become an alcoholic and moved to Spain, living there in a house boat off the shore of Valencia. She heard that the old man’s health was deteriorating and decided to let past grievances go by and visit him with her husband. Arriving in Valencia, they went to the boat, effected a re-conciliation, and sat down to a paella meal. After dinner the husband surgeon got up and walked around the boat, looking at the memorabilia displayed on the walls. His eyes suddenly came across a yellowing picture of a young woman wearing a sporting jacket and a wide-brimmed hat. He immediately realized that the girl in the picture was his mother, and that a long time ago he himself had married his father’s daughter, his half-sister.



GEORGE DUNEA, MD, Editor-in-Chief


Fall 2018  |  Sections  |  Fiction

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