Tom was almost sixteen, with dark brown hair and green eyes. He was tired of not hugging people. He loved hugging, but his parents wouldn't allow it. You see, Tom was special, he could heal any disease or sickness, just by hugging people. But it came with a price. Every time Tom hugged someone, he lost approximately one year of his life, he didn’t physically grow old, but some strands of hair turned grey. When they were all grey, he would run out of life. This traumatized his parents.
“They don’t understand,” he said to himself, ”I can use my power to help people.”
He paced his room, thinking of the best course of action. He knew that to hug people meant that he might die, but then he thought of all the suffering people, all the suffering children that he could help.
Tom marched down the stairs and walked up to his parents.
“I want to help people”
“What?” Dad asked in surprise.
“You know what I mean,” Tom said exasperated, “I can use my power to help suffering people.”
“But you know your power hurts you,” Mom asked, worried, “I Don't want you to get hurt.”
“I know, Mom, but it's the right thing to do. Why have a power that I can’t use?”
“We understand Tom, but are you sure this is what you want?” Dad asked.
“Yes it is,” said Tom, certain of his choice.
“Well, I guess I’ll help you,” Dad said.
“But…” Mom started.
“Honey, it’s what he wants.”
“Okay,” Mom finally gave in, “If it’s what he wants.”
Silvia Ondina followed Tom down the street toward the local children's hospital. Silvia was tall, with long black hair with knowing grey eyes. She had been Tom’s best friend for years, she had also been the one who discovered his powers. About a year ago, she had been in an accident and had been paralyzed. One day, at this same hospital, Tom had come to visit her and to keep her company. When he was about to leave, he got up, said goodbye, and hugged her. Suddenly she could walk, she could walk better than before the accident. That one hug had even fixed her ankle she had broken when she was three.
Having personally witnessed his powers, she had no objection to his plan. They walked into the hospital and up to the front desk.
“How can I help you?” A woman behind the desk asked.
“We're here to see my dad, please,” Silvia asked, “ Doctor Ondina.” The woman nodded and led them down the hall. Silvia’s dad was a doctor here at the hospital, he specializes in kids with cancer and other diseases. They found him walking down one of the long halls.
“Silvia! What a pleasant surprise,” Silvia's father was of average height and had intelligent grey eyes, just like his daughter, “what do you need?”
“I’m here to help Tom,” She said, “He’s here to use his powers.”
Her father's smile faded, “Oh. Well, that is good and bad news, but it's your choice. Why do you need me?”
Finally, Tom spoke, “I can only use my powers a few times, I don't want my life to become too short. Can you show us some patients who could use a miracle?”
“As a matter of fact, there is a four-year-old girl who was diagnosed with kidney failure a few days ago. She and her family are struggling.”
“Bring me to them please.” Doctor Ondina obliged and took them down the hall to a room. Inside the room was a little girl in a hospital bed and who Tom assumed was the girl’s mom. They looked up when they entered. Tom walked up to the little girl and asked, “How are you doing?”
“Fine,” The little girl said shyly. She and Tom quickly became best friends. They talked for an hour. Finally, Tom stood up to leave, hesitated, then leaned over and hugged the little girl. Immediately, her eyes brightened and she knew something was different. Tom said goodbye and left. He smiled, this was what he wanted.
After that, Tom decided to wait a few years before using his powers. When He was twenty, he traveled around the world with Silvia. They went to people who they thought needed help, healing them of their troubles.
A little more than half of his hair had turned grey when Tom decided to stop. He and Silvia settled down and had a family. Every so often, Tom would heal someone who he thought needed it.
As time passed, Tom and Silvia grew older and Tom had almost a full head of grey hair. Now in his sixties, surprised he had lasted this long, Tom knew his time was coming.
One day, his daughter, Lilly, was diagnosed with cancer. Tom flew across the country to see her. He walked into the hospital with Silvia and was taken to Lilly’s room. Tom talked with the doctors and discovered it was serious. He walked over to Lilly and sat down next to her. Knowing what he needed to do, he leaned over and hugged his daughter.
He died the next day, at age 64, he used his last hug to save his daughter’s life.
Author Notes: "Everyone is gifted, but some people never open their package"- Wolfgang Riebe