A Second Chance.

Derek wouldn't stop smiling as he walked out of the city mall with the new bicycle he got for Ryan, and he felt proud as a father for fulfilling his son's only birthday wish.

"He is definitely going to love it," Derek thought as he stood outside the mall waiting for a cab. The 16th of March was Ryan's birthday, and Derek had promised to get the young boy his first bicycle. Ryan clocked six years on that day and he has made Derek and Cicilia proud parents.

Derek finally got a cab and gently placed the bicycle in the boot. He cautioned the cab driver not to run into potholes because Ryan's birthday gift has to be in a perfect condition throughout their trip to Sedan, a small village in Lakha.

"Honey, I got the bicycle and Ryan is going to love it," Derek texted his wife who was busy preparing some food to celebrate Ryan's birthday.

"Thanks honey, I hope it wasn't too expensive?" Cicilia asked.

"It was expensive, but you know I will do anything for you and Ryan. Your happiness is all that matters to me," Derek replied.

"Hope you prepared coconut candy too? You know how well he loves it," Derek asked and while waiting for Cicilia's response, his phone rang.

"Unknown number! Who could this be?" Derek stuttered as he stared at the phone screen.

"Hello!"Derek said immediately after he picked up the call.

"Good morning, Mr Derek. This is Mageret, Ryan's class teacher. Please, we need your attention here immediately. Your son slumped, and we are heading to the hospital as we speak," the caller said.

"My son slumped? How? When? Where?" Derek stuttered.

"We are almost at the central hospital, and he was transported in an ambulance," Margaret replied and ended the call.

"This can't be true," Derek muttered and his hands were shaking as he tried dialing his wife's number. His heart was beating hard and he couldn't comprehend everything Ryan's teacher said on the phone.

"Did anyone call you from Ryan's school?" Derek asked immediately after Cicilia picked up the call.

"Yes, Ryan's teacher said my son slumped in school. I am heading to the central hospitalg right now," Cicilia's voice was shaky and Derek could hear her sobbing immediately after she replied.

"I am on my way too," Derek stuttered.

"Please hurry, we are going to the central hospital now. Please move as fast as you can," Derek hurried the cab driver and prayed silently for a few seconds before calling his wife again.

"Why is she not picking up?" Derek stuttered and tried Cicilia's lines again, but she didn't pick them up.

"God, please don't let anything happen to my son; you know this is the only fruit you have blessed us with," Derek muttered as he felt his world crash at that moment.

As the cab sped on the highway, Derek remembered the day Ryan came into the world. The couple had a long delay before Cicilia could conceive, and she had a serious complication that put her life on the line during the child delivery, but she succeeded in having Ryan.

"Mr. Ryan, please take good care of this boy. Your wife's chances of having another baby are almost impossible," Derek remembered doctor Alfred's warning, and it worsened his fear.

Immediately after the cab arrived at the central hospital, Derek paid for the fare and rushed into the hospital with the bicycle. He started asking around for the boy who was brought in an ambulance and the nurses directed him to the emergency unit. Derek kept the bicycle at the reception with the nurses before going to the other wing of the hospital where the emergency unit is.

Upon getting there, Derek met Cicilia crying uncontrollably. He rushed to meet her and hugged her immediately.

"What happened?" Derek asked Miss Margret who was standing behind his wife.

"We were singing for him after he told me that it was his birthday, and he just slumped on the spot where he was standing," Miss Margret replied.

"Honey, it's okay. He will be fine," Derek tried comforting his wife even though everything was difficult for him to handle.

Doctor Alfred came out of the emergency unit some minutes after Derek arrived, and the couple rushed to meet him.

"Please, what's happening to our son?" Derek asked.

"We can't say for now until the test results are out, but he is stable," Doctor Alfred replied.

He left the couple and requested that Derek see him privately some minutes later.

"What's going on, doctor? It looks like there is something you are not telling us," Derek asked doctor Alfred.

"I can't be telling you some things in the presence of your wife because she might not be able to handle it," Doctor Alfred replied.

""What exactly is happening?"Derek stuttered.

"Ryan is alive but not responding to anything, his nervous system might be down, and that's a very complicated issue," doctor Alfred paused to respond to a nurse.

"Ryan's condition is terrible and as it stands, we might have to invite some specialists to check on him as soon as possible. We don't have much time," Doctor Alfred added.

Derek was speechless for a few seconds, and tears had welled up in his eyes.

"Please invite anyone, doctor. You know what Ryan means to us," Derek replied.

"Sure, we will do everything within our power but you need to make a huge deposit now so that I can start doing my job," Doctor Alfred replied.

"I will deposit some money at the accountant office now," Derek replied.

He deposited all his savings into his hospital account, and the doctor swung into action immediately. Different specialists came to examine Ryan, and they finally figured out what was happening to the little boy.

"It's been five days now, and I have lost count of how many specialists Doctor Alfred has invited to examine Ryan. Is there something you are not telling me?" Cicilia asked Derek as they sat by Ryan's sick bed.

"The doctor said his condition is critical, but I couldn't tell you. I didn't want to scare you because I am scared, we can't lose Ryan. We can't lose our boy," Derek muttered.

Tears began pouring profusely from the couple's eyes as they held each other's hands while staring at their son.

Doctor Alfred walked in shortly and asked Derek to see him privately, but he insisted that the doctor should tell whatever news he had in the presence of Cicilia.

"Are you sure about that?" Doctor Alfred asked.

"Yes, go on. She has the right to know," Derek replied.

"It's a good thing we know what's wrong with Ryan but the only doctor who has successfully operated on a similar condition is not in the country. We have to fly him down here, which is better than taking Ryan away from here since it might be dangerous and that will cost more," doctor Alfred replied.

Cicilia had buried her head in her palm while the doctor was speaking just to hide her tears, but her sobbing could be heard clearly.

"Let's bring him here," Derek replied.
"We have to start making preparations so we need more money for the surgery. I have to attend to other patients now," Doctor Alfred replied and excused himself.

Derek checked his account and realized there was nothing left. He immediately reached out to some people for support, but only a few responded and he had to start selling some properties.

"What of the bicycle? At least, it's worth something. Let's sell it," Cicilia advised.

"No, we can't sell that. I am handing it over once Ryan opens his eyes," Derek replied.

The couple sold almost everything they had to fund the surgery, and the 8 hours Doctor Raymond spent in the theater with Ryan were the toughest moments of their lives. They prayed and wept bitterly while waiting for the surgeon to revive Ryan.

"Everything is done now, so let's remain hopeful at this stage," Doctor Raymond told the couple after the surgery was completed.

12 hours passed after the surgery and a nurse who was assigned to monitor Ryan called Doctor Alfred. The couple followed the doctor immediately and upon getting into the ward, they saw Ryan's eyes slightly open.

The couple couldn't hold back their joy and rushed to the bedside, but they weren't allowed to touch him. While Doctor Alfred was checking his vitals, Ryan called his parents, and they felt the same happiness as the day he was born.

"Is that my bicycle?" Ryan said softly and the couple could barely hear him, so they moved closer to him.

"Is that my bicycle?" He asked again, and Derek couldn't hold back tears as he replied, "Yes."

The couple held each other tightly and wept as they thanked God for giving their son a second chance to live.


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