It was a tiring day on campus. I couldn't even get a second to catch my breath. The autumn season was here, and it was getting chilly. The Pediatric Ward of our hospital was beginning to seem understaffed due to the increase in patients. The kids were coming in with common cold, cough, and pyrexia. Parents were distressed, and if one sibling got sick, the others followed. It was a hard time managing the patients and counseling the upset parents. I didn't even get a fifteen-minute break. My fellow classmates and I were running haywire to get everything done on time.
I took a huge sigh of relief when the clock struck 2:00 pm. Signing off the last patient in my care, I handed over the remaining cases to the interns and checked out. As the hospital doors closed behind me, a gush of cool air hit my face, blowing away my hair gently. I took a deep breath of nature to let the sterilization smell wash away. I slowly started walking back home.
The pathway seemed to stretch on forever. My heavy footsteps made a huge impact on the fallen leaves on the footpath. The tiredness was begging me for a moment to relax. Despite the breeze, I felt as if I had run a marathon. I looked around for a refreshing drink to cool down, but nothing was in my field of vision. Knowing I needed to move, I dragged my feet to hurry along the path. Soon enough, my eyes caught the sight of a small convenience store. Getting an adrenaline boost, I was just about to go over and buy myself a drink when something else caught my attention.
Moving forward to get a better glimpse, I saw an adorable little wooden shack on the side with a handwritten poster reading "Super Lemon." Two boys were standing there; I assumed they were brothers. Curious, I changed my destination and headed to the little shack. It reminded me of the little wooden playhouse my siblings and I built as kids. As I was moving toward them, the older of the two boys saw me and his face lit up. Watching as he elbowed his little brother in my direction, I waved at them.
They waved back excitedly. Reaching them, I patted the little one and shook the older one's hand, asking them what was special on the menu. The little one looked confused and tilted his head like a puppy. The older one got it and tried to answer professionally, but I could detect the excitement in his tone. He showed me the bucket of freshly cut lemons, limes, and oranges. Giving them a smile, I asked for two glasses of orange juice. They nodded, and the older one got to the task immediately while the little one cheered on his older brother, saying, "Hurry! Hurry! Big Bro! You can do it." Laughing at their antics, I drank the juice, thanking them. I took out my wallet and paid them with a little tip, watching them blush.
Asking them about the story behind the lemon shack in autumn, I came to know they were collecting money to buy a birthday cake for their 3-year-old sister as a gift. Touched, I asked them how much more they needed. I watched them count the money and then reply, "30 bucks." Knowing that if they took the time to set up the shack for this, they wouldn't just accept the money. Thinking, I got an idea. I saw some of my fellow classmates who were also walking back home, lost in thought. I waved them over, asking them to try the fresh drinks made by the brothers. They were all tired and thirsty like me, so they agreed, and soon we had a little crowd that emptied the little shack before disappearing. As I was about to leave, the little one asked me to accompany them to the store across the street to buy the cake. Happily, I obliged, and soon, they were waving me off with a cake in their hands.
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