Each morning, Bellasini takes a short cut through the rain forest to school.

 

It did not really save her any time, as she would spend any time saved, playing with the little animals and birds along the way. However, there could be no better way to start a school day, than to follow the cobble stone path, through the middle of Gran’s enchanted rain forest.

 

In recent times, Bellasini had met a new friend in the forest named Clint. A little five year old boy who had been diagnosed with cancer. He is undergoing treatment each day at the local hospital. However, the treatments are making him very sick and tired, and he now has a lot of trouble just walking a few steps.

 

The only way he is able to get to the forest each day, is with his mother pushing him in a little wheel chair.

 

Still, every morning that he is well enough, Clint insists his mother bring him to the forest to see Bellasini, and her animal friends.

 

He loves the way she is able to call over all the different creatures, and feed them.

 

Clint knew today was Bellasini’s birthday, and even though he was feeling the pain of his illness, he pleaded with his mother to push him to the forest.

 

“Bellasini! Bellasini! I’ve got a birthday present for you,” called out Clint, from his wheelchair.

 

“Wow you’ve got me a present!” she excitedly responded, lifting him from his little wheelchair. “What have you got me?”

 

He leaned back in Bellasini’s arms, and pulled out a small flat parcel which he had obviously wrapped himself.

 

“Well thank you very much,” smiled Bellasini, giving him a kiss on the cheek.

 

“Hmm! What could this be?” she asked playfully, gently lowering him back into his chair.

 

“You have to open it Sini,” replied Clint with a cheeky smile. “I am not going to tell you. It’s a surprise.”

 

“Wow! I love surprises,” giggled Bellasini, as she slowly started to unwrap Clint’s secret present.

 

She carefully lifted every piece of colorful tape, so as not to tear a single piece, of Clint’s homemade wrapping paper.

 

“Faster, faster Sini,” shouted Clint, growing impatient with Bellasini’s game.

 

Inside, mounted in a frame that Clint had built himself, was a photograph his mother had taken of Bellasini and Clint, feeding the animals the week before. At the bottom of the photo, Clint had carefully written the words, ‘So you can always take me with you to feed the animals’.

 

A small tear welled in the corner of Bellasini’s eye, as she once again hugged Clint tightly.

 

“Thank you very much my little man. This is the nicest present you could have possibly given me. But does this mean you are not going to keep visiting me and our little friends in the forest each day?”

 

“I hope I can Sini,” replied Clint. “But the doctors say I might have to live at the hospital for a while.”

 

Clint paused for a second before continuing. “Will you come and visit me? And maybe sneak in some of our friends from the forest, inside your bag!”

 

“Of course I will Clint,” replied Bellasini, fighting back her tears. “But you will be better in no time. Then you will be able to visit all our friends yourself.”

 

“I hope your right Sini,” replied Clint, glancing down at all the little creatures which now surrounded his wheel-chair.

 

Bellasini took the toast that she had earlier put in her bag, and gently placed it inside Clint’s hands.

 

“Come on Clint, I think our furry little friends are waiting for their breakfast.”

 

Clint loved feeding all of the creatures of the rain forest. In no time at all, he would find his wheelchair surrounded by lively little birds, flapping and whistling their merry tunes; impatiently waiting for Clint to feed them.

 

Baby ducks, squirrels, possums and bunnies, soon emerged from behind every bush and tree, searching for the goodies that Clint was sure to have hidden in his pockets.

 

Suddenly, Bellasini glanced at her watch. 

 

“Wow! Is that the time? I am going to be late for school. I’m sorry Clint, but I am going to have to run. But before I go,” she continued, looking into his bright blue eyes. “What do we always do?”

 

“We make a wish!” shouted Clint, moving towards her with his arms out-stretched.

 

Bellasini clasped Clint’s fragile little hands inside her own, in exactly the same manner as Gran does with hers, while saying. “Now close your eyes, look toward the heavens, and make a wish.”

 

As he leaned back into his wheelchair in the morning sun, Bellasini was presented with the heart breaking picture, of a spirited young boy, trapped inside a disease ravaged body.

 

How could this be? she thought to herself. It’s just not fair. She felt so helpless.

 

Clint closed his eyes, and shouted out as loud as his fragile voice would allow, “I wish! I wish! Oh how I wish, that one day I will be well enough to go to school like everyone else….”

 

Bellasini was just about to speak, when Clint with his eyes still closed tightly continued. “I also wish that Bellasini and my friends in the forest, never ever get sick.”

 

Clint opened his eyes to seek Bellasini’s approval for wishing more than one wish. “Is it ok that I made two wishes?”

 

Trying desperately to hold back her tears, Bellasini pulled Clint into her embrace.“Of course it is Clint. My Gran says everyone can wish as many wishes as they want.”

 

After one more hug and kiss on the cheek, Bellasini continued, “I am sorry my little man, but I really have to go. Thank you so very much for my present.”

 

Clint’s mother hugged Bellasini, and quietly thanked her for all the happiness she was able to bring her sick little boy, promising she would bring him back tomorrow, so she could see him before he moved to the hospital.

Bellasini and Clint.jpg

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