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Joy Zhou


IAT313 SPRING 2013

                                                                                                                    A Surprise

“Finally, I am here! Huhhh…” Rose stretches herself after a six-hours flight. Five minutes later, Rose is queuing at the taxi berth outside the airport when the ringtone of her phone starts to beckon her.
Picking up her phone, Rose says:

“Hey mum, Merry Christmas!” while a smile naturally emerges on Rose’s face.
“Honey, are you still working right now? Is my poor girl spending Christmas at
hospital again this year?” A pleasant and benevolent voice arises on the
other side of the phone.
“Yeah, you know ER is always full of unexpected patients. And I really want to
challenge myself more since I have just finished my residency.”
“I understand that honey. Anyways, it’s really a pity that you cannot join us.
You know that your uncle and I are both looking forward to seeing you tonight.
We all miss you honey.”

“I miss you too mum. I promise I will come visit you as long as I have time.” Rose is trying her best to speak with an apologetic voice on one hand while she keeps restraining her thrill of being able to see her mother very soon on the other hand.

After hanging off the phone, Rose takes out her wallet from her bag. Unfolding the wallet, there is an outmoded photo of a family inside. It is one of the very few photos of Rose and her parents that she has. Looking at the photo, all these memories of her parents start rushing forth into Rose’s head.

Rose was born in a family with parents who are both cardiologists. Now she is an ER doctor due to the profound impact of her parents. However Rose has not seen her mother for a long time. Not only because her parents separated when she was 10 and she lived with her father, but also because of her decision to go to the city far away from her parents after her graduation from the medical school. Today is the first Christmas Eve after her mother remarried to uncle John and moved to this new city. So Rose wants to throw a surprise to her mum for the Christmas; she secretly booked the flight ticket and took the plane to this new city.

Unfortunately, Rose is too thrilled and focused on her surprise to notice that a sneaky hand is slowly reaching into her handbag and groping inside it after she just places her wallet back to her bag. Rose has not realized that her wallet is gone until she is ready to get a cab. “So annoying! Someone must have taken my wallet while I was on the phone! Huhhh..I should have paid more attention!” Rose said to herself furiously.

So that’s how she ends up wandering in this poor neighborhood. She gets lost, with no money on her. With a red lavish high heel on the feet and a luxurious leather bag on her wrist, Rose is walking slowly in this deep alley. More precisely, she is wandering around this neighbourhood. It is Christmas Eve, but there is no atmosphere of Christmas here. No Christmas trees, no mistletoes nor the reindeers. The only indication of Christmas that Rose notices are some ragged red ribbons hanging on the trees. Looking around here, some people are squatting on the street and looking at the front with no expression on their faces, some are going ahead aimlessly under the shabby clothes while Rose sweeps her eyes over them. The stink here makes her frown and she feels like an alien who just fall onto the earth accidentally. Rose covers her nose with her tender hand, trying to hold her breath.

All of a sudden, there is a puerile voice crying at the end of the alley. “Help! Somebody help! My mum just fainted! She’s not talking to me now! Somebody help!” A little girl is standing beside her unconscious mother, who looks so helpless at this moment. Rose hears the crying while she is floundering on the street. After realizing what is going on, Rose quickly takes off her high heels without a single second of hesitation and dashes to that mother and daughter with her bare feet. She kneels down on the ground and checks the condition of the mother skillfully when she arrives at them. After putting her fingers on the carotid artery of the mother and stooping to hear her heartbeats, Rose observes that the mother is in a coma and has a very weak pulse. People on the street start paying attention and crowding around Rose and the mother at this time.

“It could be stroke. Somebody call the ambulance!!” Rose yells at the crowd while she starts doing the cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the mother at the same time. She places her hands over the fainted woman’s chest, her fingers skillfully measures the place between the sternum and the top of her ribcage where she could apply pressure. As she is administering CPR on the mother, an unexpected thing falls out from the mother’s pocket. It is a wallet! It is a wallet which catches Rose’s attention immediately because it is exactly the same as Rose’s stolen wallet. After a second of startle, Rose picks up the wallet and opens it. The photo is still there, everything is still there except the cash. “The world is always full of coincidences, isn’t it?” Rose whispers, seems like she is talking to herself.

After the ambulance arrives, Rose reports the condition of the mother to the emergency staff and asks them the directions to her mother’s house. Then Rose goes to that little girl, squats down and asks:
“Where is your dad? You should call him.”
The little girl stares at Rose for a while, and then softly, she opens her mouth:
“Mum said that dad was in another city, he is not here.”

Assuming that the parents of the little girl may have separated just like hers, Rose feels that there is nothing more she can do here. So Rose stands up and leaves, with her found wallet in her hand.

The night is gathering darkness when Rose finally gets to her destination. She presses the doorbell and waits. The door opens after a while, with a pleasantly shocking expression on her mother’s face.
“Surprise!” Rose says to her mum, gladly.
When the night finally comes, Rose eventually gets to sit down and have the roasted turkey that she loves most.
“DING-DONG…” It is the doorbell ringing when Rose is just about to cut the turkey.
“Mum do we have guest?” Rose asks her mum and walks along to the door.

There is no one behind the door when the door opens. Rose frowns and looks around, assuming that maybe the child in the neighborhood is just being mischievous while she suddenly finds an envelope on the ground outside the door.

Suspiciously picking up the envelope from the ground, Rose opens the envelope and discovers a wrinkled paper inside it. On that paper, there are five brief sentences with askew handwritings:
“ Thank you for saving my mum today.
I am sorry for taking your money.
I thought maybe Santa Claus could help me buy a flight ticket for dad tonight,
so that he can come back to me from the city called ‘heaven’. ”

Rose is shocked, holding the paper firmly in her hand, she slowly walks into the house.
“Who’s that?” Mum asks Rose.
“A surprise.” Rose answers.