The Heart of Things

Bethany couldn’t rid herself of the chill that had crawled down her spine, and seeped through her dark wrinkled up skin. She hated getting the goose-bumps. She hated being in hospitals. Hospitals were always so cold; so stale. She wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her husband, Roy. That old man nearly forced her to visit the no-good hospital to see that no-good doctor to figure out what’s wrong with her. She denied it over and over again, but in the small portion of reality told her, something was wrong. Very wrong. The white robed young doctors all walked in together. Doctors were like teenage girls, traveled everywhere together. They never separated, nor did they want to. Bethany thought to herself,

Why are the doctors, three times younger than me, taking care of me, they don’t know nothing. I need doctors wit experience!

“Mrs. Johnson, hello there. How are you feeling?” The doctor said with a wide grin spread across his face.

Doctors think they’sa so smart, but I see right through that smile, he gonna give me some bad news, I bet.

“Mrs. Johnson, we have received your test results and I’m afraid it’s nothing good.” The young doctor broke the news to her gently, but like Bethany Johnson would take something gently, yeah right.

What’s he afraid of?! I’s da one that should be scared here, boy.

“Young man, I’d rather not know. Now, if you’d just send me on my way, I can get home in time to cook my grandchildren some homemade dinner, and don’t bes calling my house neither, I don’t want my husband, Mr. Roy, to find out.” Bethany stood up from the chair and tried to step out the room when she felt something tugging on her arm.

“Mrs. Johnson, it is required for us to share this information with you, I can get into deep trouble if I keep these results from you. Please cooperate and I assure you, you can leave when you want, of course, after I explain the problem at hand and the possible resolutions.” He exclaimed calmly, yet sounding a little nervous. Mrs. Johnson spoke with so much authority, she could see on his face how disrespectful he felt for stopping the old broad.

“Well tell me quickly, so that I can leave this place soon, or so help me God, I will freeze to death in this ice box of a room ya gots here.” She replied annoyed and she sat back down and looked at the standing doctors.

“You need a heart transplant. Ninety percent of heart transplants are performed on patients with end-stage heart failure. This means this is the last and only thing that can save you. Donor hearts are always in short supply, patients, like you, who need a heart transplant go through a careful selection process. You need to be sick enough to need a new heart, yet healthy enough to receive it. We feel like you could be one of the rare selected, but we’ll need your permission to put you onto the waiting list.” It was the same doctor as before speaking to her, he must be the leader of this “clique”.

“What you is sorry for boy? This ain’t your fault,” She replied calmly, “Well I don’t want one of dem transplants anyways and no. You may not put my name on some dumb list, so can I leave?”

“Ma’me, I don’t think you’re taking this seriously. Your nearly sixty years old, don’t you feel like you have so much more time to live and things to do and see? This is terminal, did you know that?”

“Uh, yes. I do understands. What I also understand is that you won’t let a woman leave.” She barged out into the colorful bright hallway. She walked swiftly, with her pocketbook hanging from her shoulder and her floral dress hanging loosely down her lanky body, tickling her ankles as she walked.
The doctors all called after her, but she didn’t listen.

Why would I get a heart transplant? I feel fines. Well, mostly fine, but I no need no heart transplant! If it’s God’s will, then I am gonna die. This be’s God’s decision, not mines.

She didn’t want to listen to the doctors. She just kept hauling her stubborn mind and her thick pulled-together eyebrows down the hall. Down the elevator. And finally, to the bus stop. She sat on the hard wooden bench and started thinking about dinner, but was interrupted by the sound of the violet-crowned hummingbirds in the local park, not but a few feet away from the bus stop. She never heard them before, it was a gorgeous sound that seemed vaguely unfamiliar. But she loved it, so she decided to walk home. It wasn’t too far, but she’d walk any distance to keep listening to the birds’ tunes of nature. It was a good thirty minute walk, but again, she didn’t mind. Bethany realized how pink the sky was, it was sundown, she knew it turned a pink color around this time every afternoon, but it was such a bright neon pink; impossible to ignore.

What a pretty pretty sky above me today. Dis is nice, has it always beens like dis?

She walked the pavements of southern Manhattan, listening to the natural melodies, admiring the glorious sky, and feeling the true magnificence of the world. Mrs. Johnson even stopped at the flower garden in front of her home and picked a few of the radiant roses and even a couple dull ones to balance the bouquet out. She stepped into her old 18th century cottage and into the cozy kitchen that smelled of homemade apple pies. She pulled a crystal glass vase out of the cabinet and stared into its corners of rainbows. She never saw before how the splendid the glass reflects the light of the sun coming in from the opened window. Bethany filled the vase with water, but tasted it before placing the sweet smelling flowers in it. The water was so thirst quenching, she couldn’t imagine ever having to drink any other substance. She went into the warm and snug sitting room and sat in her old wooden rocking chair that she has owned for years and years before. She sat down and placed the flower vase next to her and drifted off to sleep.

The grandchildren were rumbling and running, yelling for their favorite grandmother. They enter the cottage before their mother. The two crazy children scramble into the sitting room, yelling her name in excitement, but she didn’t wake. No matter what they did, she would not wake, she had gone to the peaceful and elysian heaven to meet with her Lord and savior.

But before she went, she realized one more thing: You never quite understand the beauty of the world until the few moments God gives you before your death…





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