Life

The Half-Year Hotel: A Story of Love and Sacrifice

Adam reclined on the hospital bed, engrossed in the video his father Stellan had filmed expressly for him, repeatedly replaying it with unwavering fascination.

At the tender age of twelve, Adam had long revered Stellan as a stalwart figure, his father and an esteemed law enforcer. Occupied and commanding, Stellan had been a constant presence in Adam’s life since his infancy. Over the years, Stellan frequently embarked on demanding assignments in the field. The video Adam watched had been recorded in the midst of an arctic mission, right outside an exquisite hotel enveloped in ice and snow. There, he beseeched Adam to heed Dr. Parson’s counsel and tend to his ailment with utmost care. Within the confines of that resplendent hotel, Stellan had preserved a cache of heartfelt words for Adam’s eventual recovery, accompanied by the enchanting vistas of a quaint northern Swedish village. He had also implored Adam not to contact him until his return from his current mission.

“Father appears gaunt and wearied, and he has never before requested that I refrain from contacting him during prior missions. This undertaking must indeed be perilous, don’t you think, Dr. Parson?” Adam inquired intently.

Dr. Parson, sporting a complex countenance, pursed his lips in contemplation, grappling with the appropriate response. Nonetheless, buoyed by his optimism, Adam whispered to himself, “My father is an extraordinary man; he shall undoubtedly return unscathed!”

Adam yearned for his father every day, weaving intricate fantasies of the surprises that awaited him within the confines of that hotel. Every few days, he would query Parson, “May I journey to the town of Jukkasjarvi in Lapland?” “Oh, my dear, your kidneys are afflicted with a grave condition, rendering lengthy travels impossible at present,” Parson reiterated in a gentle, yet emphatic, tone.

It was not until half a year had elapsed that Parson relented, granting Adam permission to accompany him to Lapland. Just as Adam had hoped, he beheld the resplendent panoramas of northern Sweden. Regrettably, the hotel Stellan had alluded to remained elusive.

Parson also found this perplexing and, after diligent inquiry, discovered that the hotel depicted in the video was an igloo hotel, constructed entirely of ice. Due to climatic constraints, it operated exclusively from December to the following April. As the weather warmed, the igloo hotel would gradually dissolve into liquid, as though it were never there. Given its ephemeral nature, merely available for half a year, it was aptly dubbed the “half-year hotel.”

“The half-year hotel,” Parson mused. They had arrived in June, and it stood to reason that they could not witness this exceptional establishment or receive Stellan’s parting words.

“It appears we have no choice but to return in six months,” Parson murmured, suddenly grasping the noble intent behind Stellan’s choice of the hotel’s limited timeframe. Adam’s treatment was divided into two stages, each spanning half a year. The second phase of his restorative regimen loomed ahead. Amidst his restlessness and occasional anguish, a profound curiosity and anticipation unfailingly coursed through his heart.

“Why hasn’t Father returned after such an extended absence?” Adam couldn’t contain his inquisitiveness.

“Well, perchance the answer shall reveal itself when the igloo hotel reopens,” Parson responded.

Come December, Adam’s ailment had been vanquished entirely, requiring only a few additional months of repose for a complete convalescence. Parson escorted him once more to Lapland, where they finally beheld the long-awaited hotel. An attendant led them on a tour, showcasing an array of suites, each boasting a unique theme ranging from space to history and gardens. The suite adorned with an assortment of ice-carved candies, reminiscent of Adam’s youthful predilections, had been Stellan’s initial brainchild, suffused with childlike enchantment and romance.

Stellan had left behind a recording for Adam, wherein he fervently expressed his boundless love. The final words lingered, “When you hear this recording, I shall not have returned, signifying the ultimate sacrifice I have made.”

Adam, deeply moved and overwhelmed by sorrow, clung to Parson in a fervent embrace, sobbing uncontrollably.

En route back, Adam confided in Parson, confessing his immense pride in his father. Stellan had perpetually been his beacon of honor, and Adam aspired to embody unwavering strength, much like his paternal figure.

Parson exhaled a sigh of relief. In truth, he was privy to an even more poignant verity.

Similar to Adam, Stellan grappled with a specific genetic kidney ailment bereft of clear and efficacious treatment. After years of meticulous research, Parson had devised two hypothetical approaches, yet remained uncertain as to thewhich of the two, Method 1 or Method 2, held greater promise. In the event of Method 1’s failure, substantial perils would arise, hastening the patient’s demise.

Stellan himself had only recently fallen ill, with the doctor’s prognosis projecting a maximum lifespan of five years. Little did he anticipate that Adam would succumb to the same affliction at such a tender age, his condition surpassing Stellan’s in severity. In a selfless bid to grant Adam a chance at life, Stellan resolutely abandoned conservative treatments, beseeching Parson to implement the untested Method 1 while signing a waiver. Unfortunately, Method 1 proved unviable, compelling Stellan to swiftly implore Parson to proceed with Method 2 for Adam’s sake.

Stellan’s health deteriorated to such an extent that he relinquished his missions, seeking solace in a place to face his impending demise. He couldn’t bear to burden Adam with the knowledge of his own impending mortality, aware that it would breed despair and undermine his own arduous journey towards recovery.

In truth, Stellan was not a policeman at all; his occupation was rather ordinary. Rising early and retiring late each day, he frequently toiled overtime and embarked on business trips. To cultivate an imposing image in his son’s mind, he deliberately fostered the illusion of a law enforcement career. Simultaneously, he sought to reassure Adam that despite losing his mother at a young age, he still possessed a formidable father.

Parson gazed upon the slumbering Adam cradled in his arms, resolved to disclose the truth when the boy matured. He firmly believed that this revelation would not tarnish the towering image of Stellan.

“No, he already stands tall,” Parson whispered to himself once more.

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