The Debt of Gratitude

The old man with frail lungs and
shattered arms begged my father for
love and money. He recounted the
time he’d discovered my father
drowning in a small river by
the hill: how he was close to
drawing his last breath.
My father remembered the
despair. He remembered the
slow motion of time.
The man, coughing, holding his
throbbing chest, whispered:
It is your turn now to save me.
My time is running out and
I might need a few pennies to
keep living, keep breathing.
My father smiled, like he knew
exactly the price of air; he
rummaged through his pouch of
wealth and handed the man with
frail lungs and shattered arms
his last tokens of
gratitude.

 

 

Artwork by Norman Rockwell

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