After being still in her place for some time, Liu Anna then leaned forward to pick up a patch of sterilized cotton kept in a box placed on the stand next to Song Jia's bed with her gloved hand. She wiped the narrow stream of blood oozing out from her daughter's nose and other body parts with the cotton as gently as she could. Bleeding from all the openings of the body was a common symptom in the patients of ALL. Liu Anna felt her heart tearing by seeing her daughter's condition. In her eyes, she looked like a damaged doll whose entire body was stabbed with knives multiple times to make her lose her spark.
After she dumped the used patch in a bin placed next to the stand, she took a long breath and then turned to Song Chen. "I will come back in a short while."
Song Chen nodded without looking at her. He was in a lot of grief to see his daughter suffering like this and what hurt more was his inability to be able to arrange for the money required for her treatment. Belonging to an average middle-class family with an income that was just enough to put healthy and fresh food on their plates, it was very difficult to even afford the bills of such an expensive hospital much less the stem cell transplant. With the hopes of getting his daughter saved, they had staked up all their savings but it turned out to be just a few drops of water in the sea of money that they needed for her treatment. The cheaper hospitals had all refused to admit her due to the lack of medical facilities they had. And at a difficult time like this, a few relatives had contributed whatever little they could while the others had just turned their backs on them.
Liu Anna left the room to go to the farthest end of the corridor before turning around to exit the hospital. She walked for a few minutes on the footpath before pausing in front of a telephone booth. Her feet paused as she contemplating for a while on whether she should go inside or not. Not being able to think of anything for a long while, she finally did what she felt was the only possible solution right now that could save her daughter's life.
She entered the booth and after slipping a coin inside it from the small opening on the top of the telephone, she dialed a number that she had always remembered like on the back of her hand but had not dialed for more than three years now.
The phone rang thrice before it was answered by a sleepy voice in a "hello".
Liu Anna was quiet for a few seconds before she opened her mouth to speak, "Zhao Qiang... this is Liu Anna."
Just with the first word she spoke, Zhao Qiang knew that it was her. She was his first love and he didn't need an introduction to recognize her voice. He was silent for a long time as his heart skipped beats hearing her honey like soft voice. They had dated for a while before she got married to Song Chen after breaking up with him. He had always wanted to marry her but it was only after Song Chen came into the picture that she was told by her parents that she had been engaged to him ever since they both were children. Being the people of their words, Liu Anna's parents didn't change their mind even after seeing how rich Zhao Qiang was and against their daughter's wish, married her off to Song Chen. Accepting her harsh destiny Liu Anna decided to let the past go and dedicated herself to her husband and broke all contacts with Zhao Qiang.
It had been three years since she got married and now that he heard her voice after so long, the memories all just came flooding back in.
"Anna... is that really you?" He found it hard to believe that she would call him after so long. "Why are you calling at this hour? Is everything okay?" He asked with worry, sleep long gone from his eyes.
"I... I—" She tried talking but her voice cracked and a lump formed in her throat. Tears ran down her cheeks, falling on her neck as the dam of her emotions broke free.
Zhao Qiang sat up in his bed, throwing the duvet aside and asked her urgently, "Where are you? Tell me, I am coming right now."
"Hos—hospital." and she somehow managed to tell him the name of the place where she was at. Zhao Qiang didn't wait for another moment and rushed to her. By just hearing the word hospital, he knew she was in some trouble and from the way that she cried, he felt worried.
Very soon, a Ferrari stopped in front of the telephone booth and Zhao Qiang stepped out of it. He looked around for Liu Anna and then after spotting her on a wooden bench near the telephone booth, rushed to her without wasting any time. He could tell from his spot that she looked devastated and was in need of help.
"What happened Anna?" He asked as he sat on the same bench as hers, but made sure to leave some space between them.
Liu Anna was sobbing already but hearing his question she started crying again. Amidst her hiccups she spoke as she wiped her tears every now and then, "My—my daughter... She is dying. I need money to save her." And with that, she told him everything as to why she needed money by tomorrow and that she had no other choice because she wanted to get the surgery for Song Jia's Leukemia done on her.
Zhao Qiang heard everything silently without uttering a word throughout the time she spoke, until she pressed her hands together and got down on her knees from the bench with a plop sound, taking him by surprise. "Zhao Qiang I am begging you, please help me with my daughter's treatment and in return, I will do anything that is in my power you ask me for."
Tears were running down from her beautiful face traveling all the way to her neck, smearing her cheeks wet and moist. But she didn't care about her appearance right now as all she could think about at that moment was her daughter who was on her death bed back in the hospital. She was willing to do anything to save her from dying. "I know I broke your heart in the past and you might never be able to forgive me for it, but apart from you, I can think of no one who could be of help to arrange such a big sum of money. I can't change the past but please help me this one time and I will always be indebted to you."