The Window


There were once two men, both seriously ill, in the same small room of a great hospital.  Quite a small room, it had one window looking out on the world.  One of the men, as part of his treatment, was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs.  His bed was next to the window.  The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

Every afternoon when the man next to the window was propped up for his hour, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside.  The window apparently overlooked a park where there was a lovely lake.


Ducks and swans swam on the water and children came to throw them bread while they sailed their toy boats.  Young lovers walked hand in hand beneath the grand old trees and there were flowers of every color of the rainbow.  There was stretches of grass where softball games were being played.  At the back, behind the fringe of trees, was a fine view of the city skyline.

The man on his back would listen to the other man describe all of this, enjoying every minute of it.  He heard how a child nearly fell into the lake, and how beautiful the girls were in their summer dresses.  As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on his back would listen as he closed his eyes and imagined the picturesque scene.

Then one fine afternoon, the thought struck him, "Why should the man next to the window have all the pleasure of seeing what was going on?  Why shouldn't he get the chance?  He felt ashamed, but the more he tried not to think like that, the worse he wanted a change.  He'd do anything!


One night as he stared at the ceiling, the other man suddenly woke up, coughing and choking, his hands groping for the button that would bring the nurse running.  But the man watched without moving ... even when the sound of breathing stopped.  In the morning, the nurse found the other man dead, and quietly took his body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be switched to the bed next to the window.  So they moved him, tucked him in, and made him quite comfortable.  The minute they left, he propped himself up on one elbow, painfully and laboriously, and took his first look at the world outside.


~ Author Unknown ~

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