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Mary Fallon Fleming

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Member Since: Aug, 2007

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The Panda
By Mary Fallon Fleming
Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent stories by Mary Fallon Fleming
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           >> View all 13

A spoiled young girl learns a hard lesson in the hospital.

Kate McNamara                                                                                Mainstream

6417 NW 34th Drive                                                                     Words

Gainesville, FL 32653




The Panda


Mary Fallon Fleming



            “Take it away. Take it away!” I say. The nurse takes the tray of food out of the room. I am ill. I cannot eat hospital food. I dare anyone to try and make me.

            I take the remote control off the bed sheets. The sheets are white, white, everything in this room is white. Everything except all the flowers everyone sent me, and the presents. The top of the bureau is stacked with boxes from clothing stores and toy stores. And the best of all is the big black-and-white panda bear with the red bow. He’s really big, bigger than all my bears. I flip through the TV channels until I find some cartoons. The Power Puff Girls, and then I’ll watch “Zoom”. After that, while the nurses are busy passing out trays, I’ll go downstairs to the machines and get myself two Milky Way bars.

            During the commercial I look out my door, and I see another girl in a wheelchair. She’s not looking at me. I can see the back of her head, and she’s bald. It’s funny looking, and I stare. She must feel something from me looking at her, because she turns around and sees me. She is holding a small teddy bear, a raggedy old thing.

            “Hi,” she says. She smiles. “What’s your name?”

            “Clara,” I say. “What’s yours?”

            “Sam,” says the girl.

            She gets up out of the wheelchair and comes into my room, the teddy bear squashed against her chest. “Look at all these flowers! Look at all this stuff you got!” She goes to the bureau and admires the panda.

            “How old are you?” I say.

            “Nine,” she says. “How old are you?”


            “When are you going home?” she says.


“Me too!” she says. We both smile.

“What was wrong with you?” says Sam.

“I had pneumonia. What about you?”

“I had cancer,” she says.

“Oh,” I say. “Did you get flowers?”

“No,” says Sam. “I’m here a lot. People don’t send flowers anymore.”

“But you’re better, right?” I say.

She smiles. “Yeah. The doctors told my mom I’m cured.”

“That’s great!” I say. We smile. The nurse comes and tells Sam her lunch is cold.



My mom comes and brings me a burger. I send away the dinner tray.

Mom leaves and I think about Sam. I watch TV and think about how she looked in that wheelchair, with that little raggedy teddy of hers. I look at the panda, and I have an idea. I think about it all night long so I can hardly sleep. My mom comes to get me in the morning.

            “Wait Mom,” I say, as we’re ready to go, “there’s something I have to do.” I grab the panda and look for the nurse. “Could you get Sam for me? I have something for her.”

            “I’m sorry, but Sam passed away last night.”

            My mouth drops open. I reach for my mother and cry “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy.”








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Reviewed by Barbara Terry 5/20/2009
I agree with Leann and Karen. This is indeed very heartbreaking and shivers the soul. But even in the real world, I feel what we had intended was seen by the person we had in mind even after they pass away. This was written very well and full of emotion and visual images. Thank you for sharing.

May the Lord Jesus bless you, and those whom you love and who love you, and be with you always, and at your side constantly. With much love in my heart, joy to the world, peace on earth & ((((((((((MANY WONDERFUL SISTERLY HUGGGGSSSS)))))))))), your den sister, Barbie
Reviewed by 000 000 9/24/2008
Such sadness. This is a beautiful writing with much meaning in the way your words appear to be as children would speak. CarolHawks
Reviewed by Leann Marshall 3/23/2008
The best of intentions are, indeed, often too late. Thank you for sharing this, Mary.
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 8/16/2007
Heartbreaking story; that ending...WOW! Superb writing, Mary! Punches me like a fist to the belly! Powerful!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :( >tears! <
Reviewed by Jerry Engler 8/14/2007
Well done story as always. It could stand as it is, or you could fill it out more. I would like to see what you would do if you did fill it out more...Jerry

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