That Piece Of Paper

A few days ago, I was writing a story. A story about a boy. A boy, whose best friends were agony, despair and grief. A boy, whose behavior would often be called “weird”. People would not accept his idiosyncrasies; they would instead find it better to ridicule him and his lack of social skills. His childhood did not deserve to be called a childhood at all. I felt a connection to that story. It was remarkably relatable. Although even I had had very few friends, I had had a lot of pleasant escapades too. Yet, I scraped off that idea and tore my page into a million pieces. I was about to throw them all in the bin when one of the smaller ones caught my attention, and all of a sudden, I was nostalgic. 25th May 2015. It was evening. I was sitting on the couch of my Meemaw's house, reading a book, and I was beaming with delight. After all, my birthday was just around the corner! All of a sudden, I felt an itch in my right ear. Lazy as I was, I did not want to get up and use an earbud. But I was worried about my hygiene too. I couldn't imagine using my own finger to remove my earwax. So, I tore off a bit of paper from the last page, and put it in my ear. As funny as it sounds, it really was effective in removing that itch. The problem arose when I started to enjoy a bit too much. I was holding it with the tip of my finger and inserted it far too deep; and then, I lost my grip. The paper got stuck inside. I panicked. I did not want my parents or my grandparents to find out about my stupidity, so I got up and rushed to get that earbud. Unfortunately, I did not realize that the earbud would not remove that paper; rather it would push it even further inside. I just kept hoping for the paper to attach to the earbud with adhesion, which was practically impossible. The paper, even after this struggle session, was still lodged inside. I decided to forget about this incident and acted normally that night. The next morning however, while eating my breakfast, I felt a searing pain in my ear. I could no longer afford to keep this incident a secret. I confessed everything to my parents. They were shocked at my idiocy; but they knew they had to get my ear checked. Unfortunately, most of the ENT specialists whom we knew about were closed that day. We spent the next 2 hours surfing the internet, but weren't able to find even a single doctor close to us. That was when my mom recalled that she had once been to a doctor, who used to keep his clinic open all year long. “Maybe to earn more?” I deliberated with myself. We got into our car and drove to him. His clinic was present in a really secluded area. He did not have an assistant, and it became obvious to us that he had not had patients in a while when we saw him playing candy crush on his phone in his working hours. He first looked into my ear with a concave mirror and a torch. He could not spot any piece of paper, and was going to conclude that it might have fallen out; when I told him about my pain. That was when I saw him turn serious. He looked more carefully, and this time, he spotted it. He requested my parents to leave us alone. He might've guessed that the love of my parents for me had made them astonishingly soft-hearted, so they might not be able to see me cry. When they left, he warned “Son, you will feel a slight pain in your ear. But your parents told me that you are a brave boy. Once I take that paper ball out, you will be good to go”. I nodded in approval. He put his sharp instrument in my ear. That searing pain returned to me. I wondered why he had not given me any anesthetic. The deeper he went, the more it hurt. It was like having a hundred wasps sting me in a very small periphery for a very long time. I must've gotten lost in my own thoughts, because I remained motionless even after he had taken out the paper from my ear. It was only when he shook me that I came back to my senses. He pointed his finger towards that dirty nasty paper covered with my disgusting earwax. I went outside and saw my parents waiting anxiously. “The operation was successful!”, I exclaimed with delight. My voice startled them. They turned around, only for me to witness my dad gasp in shock and my mom choke a sob. I innocently asked “Why are you crying mom?”, but before she could answer, I felt a drop fall on my neck. “Is my ear bleeding?” Her sudden surge of tears answered my question. While walking towards the bin, I wondered if I had partially lost my hearing. This was one question whose answer I did not want to know. My introspection was interrupted by my mom's voice, “Son, which girl are you dreaming about?” Embarrassed, I replied, “I am not dreaming about any girl mom!” “Then go and do something productive. And remember, don't start thinking about girls again!” We chuckled.

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