THE thick smoke of vehicles stung my nostrils, yet that did not stop a smile from blooming on the corners of my mouth as I tidied my white coat. Bizarre wonderment always has its way of settling on my stomach whenever I am reminded of how far and wide life has taken me. Grueling years of drowning in study were worth it because, here, I finally have my long-time dream within my reach.

With eyes lingering at the hospital across the street, I was about to step off the pavement when I caught in my peripheral a glimpse of a little girl standing beside me. The way she was staring straight ahead piqued my curiosity, so I crouched down to her level. Only then did I notice the mix of hues staining her arms. A familiar birthmark on her features was peeking between hair strands. She was barefoot and clad in ragged clothes, but the moment our eyes met, her orbs stood out as they twinkled in delight.

“When I grow up, I want to be just like you,” she said, beaming. With a swelling heart in my chest, I replied, “You will. I know you will.”

As though time was back on track, the sound of footsteps seeped into my ears. I held her by the hand to guide her as we traversed the lined asphalt.

A breeze blew and with it came a whisper tumbling out from my mouth: “I hope you like where we are now.” F MHERYLL GIFFEN L. ALFORTE

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