He lowers his head and pulls the cap closer to his face. He is wearing a jacket and gloves but its summer time and its dry and hot. He doesn’t know if his attempt to keep himself discreet was fruitful but he doesn’t want any curious and compassionate eyes on him, at least not there. He is completely overwhelmed with the blend of anxiety and excitement.

 

Nevertheless, he is waiting for his turn in the clinic, patiently. He still wonders if that visit will grant him the panacea to all his troubles or it will be a futile attempt. “I will never know unless I don’t go there,” he had said to himself when he had decided to come to that small town called Poi from his village. For him, hope is the only thing comprehensible at that moment. So he just hoped for the best and told himself that he wouldn’t be disappointed if the dermatologist couldn’t provide him with some medication.


“Mama, why do these people keep staring at me?” He remembers himself asking the question to his mother for the umpteenth time when he was just a little boy.


It’s because you are special, dear. And special people tend to be different. Remember that, it is not an inglorious matter to be different. Just do not pay attention to them and one day they will stop glaring at you,” she would reply so tenderly that he felt consoled but yet, the agony he had in his heart remained unhealed and uncovered.


”But I don’t want to be special. I want to be ordinary,” he would murmur with some kind of obliviousness in his eyes. “I don’t want to be constantly glared at whenever I visit the grocery, or be called a ‘monster’ and ’fish boy’ by anybody and I don’t want people to run away when they see me,” he would think.


”Miracles do happen sweetheart,” his mother would tell him every time. “Just wait for some time,” she would add. He sighed and took a long breath.


He then starts to summon up the image of Saengdao. He recalls that hypnotizable smile of hers which striked him the first time, every time he stole a glance at her. He then realizes how much he liked the way she braided her hair. He remembered how he peeped through the window every day, to have a glimpse of her. All of a sudden, he became aware that just the thought of her brought a beam onto his face. But he never had the audacity to go and talk to her. He was scared that his appearance would only scare her off. “If my disease gets cured, I am going to do that” he vows secretly.


Finally, his name was called.
‘Hello umm…Klahan. So, what problems are you facing?’’ asked the doctor while reading the name from the appointment list.


”My skin,” replies Klahan starting to take off his jacket, gloves and cap.
When the doctor noticed the extremely flaky, dry and scale-like skin, he acknowledged that the case was one of the rarest one he would ever examine.


For some minutes, he carefully scrutinized Klahan’s body.
“Ichthyosis is the name of the disease you are suffering from,” explains the doctor. “It is a rare genetic disorder. The sufferers of this disease exhibit extremely dry, flaky or even scaly skin. Often in acute cases of the disease, the skin of the people it inflicts can resemble the scale of a fish like that of yours. There is no such thing as the complete cure from this disease but through hydration of the dry skin using oils, gels and lotions, your condition will get better. I will write the name of soap and lotion. Use the soap while taking shower and softly scrub the dead skin and flakes with a loofah. Afterwards apply the lotion all over the skin and witness the changes yourself.”


Klahan returned home with not much hope but a bit of contentment that his condition would at least not aggravate further. However, he followed the instructions the doctor had given him.


The next day as he woke up, he saw the flakes from his skin all over the bed sheet and the floor. When he looked at himself in the mirror, he was shocked to see pinkish, soft skin in the place of black, flaky ones.


”Is this what they call to be a miracle?” asked Klahan to himself who couldn’t stop smiling and crying at the same time. He then remembered the secret vow he had taken which in turn, invited that pretty face of Saengdao in his mind again.