March 25, 2011
I t was one of those mornings when the piercing white light beams through the windows, so bright I could feel it through my eyelids. The exhaustion from last night -from the last month - still thudded around in my body, though it couldn’t be anything compared to how she must be feeling. The soft inhale and exhale of her breathing gently lured me out of sleep. I peeled back my eyelids and let the morning light creep in. I looked at her, soft blonde curls rested on her face and down onto her pillow, caressing her cheeks dusted a rosy pink. Beams of sweet, yellow light streamed in through the window, dancing on her features. I sat up from my chair and stretched my cramped limbs as far as possible, feeling my muscles resist against my skin.
She stirred, her lips parting ever so slightly, a tinge of purple coated them, the same tone that rested under her weary eyes. She looked over at me and smiled, softly. I stood up and ambled over to her bedside, I lay a kiss upon her cheek as I thought how lucky I was to be here, with her, regardless of the situation. Lately, things had only been getting worse. She was losing strength, and you could read it all over her face. She tried to be strong, tried to put it out of her mind that her days were slipping away, but some things just couldn’t be hidden. Her heart was dying, and it was killing mine in the process.
She desperately needed a transplant, her heart failure growing worse, struggling to keep her young body alive. She had been on the donor list for years, yet a positive match had still not been found. I looked over at her heart monitor, the rate on the screen rising weakly with each meek beat of her heart. The love of my life lay motionless on a hospital bed, while I stood waiting. Ridiculous. I needed to help her. I had to save her.
Emotions thundered around in my head. My brain synapses failed to connect, and instead sent waves of shock throughout my body. They had sent me home. She had fallen out of shock and into a coma. Her heart was just too weak. Trembling, I gripped the steering wheel. Her eyes, her smile, the little dimples that showed when she smiled her beautiful smile, all these images overtook my vision, I couldn’t lose her, I would not lose her. Car lights beamed into my eyes sending me back to reality for a split second, only to be engulfed by her again and again. How could someone so gorgeous she could power the world with her beauty be lying in such an ugly place? The smell of burning rubber filled the air. I forgot to shift into 5th, d*** it.
Her lips. The smell of her hair, a lavender explosion.
I veered to the right gently clipping the guard rail, sh**. Sparks flew up and around my car, bouncing around my windshield. I felt as though I was riding inside a fire work. I swung the wheel back over to the left, momentarily gliding into the opposing lane. The click, click of the dividing centerline was the only thing keeping me in line.
The sweet curve of her nose. Her laugh, smooth as silk. Her kiss.
My body shook all the way down from my head, through my arms and legs, to my toes. Light, so much light filled my sight. No, wait! I tried to correct my movement, but it was too late. The echoing of cracking glass rang through my ear, the piercing sound of bending steel pushed its way into my senses. Sharp pains prodded against my flesh, against my bones. A rain of glass fell upon my cheeks. I could feel their edges, like shrunken knives, press open my skin. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the tail end of a semi truck veering past me. I’d been hit. It all made sense now.
Then it was hard, incredibly hard to stay awake. Tears filled my eyes. The pain was overwhelming. Warm blood trickled down my head, tracing the curves of my face, rolling down the bridge of my nose. I could feel what was left of my blood rushing to my head, creating a crushing, pulsing sensation in my skull. I was upside down, then right side up, and I could feel the life draining from my veins. Different places swirled through my vision, but only one face stayed clear, unclouded, perfect, Ally.
She smirked. It was winter, the first time I had walked her home. The end of her nose had turned a bright red, almost as red as her lips, standing out bright against her snow white skin. The snow glistened around her, the sun sending light bouncing off its white surfaces. I reached down to hold her hand. SLAM. My head jerked back, the seat belt clenched around my neck, digging into my already torn skin.
Now I was lying next to her, it was spring. We were sprawled out under her favorite tree in the park down town. Cherry blossoms fluttered around her. All I can do is watch in amazement. Her beauty, blinding. I lean in for a kiss. WHAM. I’m upside down again, I think. My knees shove into the mangled plastic beneath the steering wheel, shards of plastic stabbing at my knee caps.
It’s summer. The trickling of the creek lingers through my memory, the smell of her sweet skin, toes dancing along the top of the rippling water. Her sun-kissed skin glowed in the dusk of another summer night. I raise my hand to catch a stray hair blown loose from the gentle summer breeze. Another SLAM. I am wrenched back down to reality for a final time. My whole body pushes deep into my seat, deep into the steel. A faint ringing fills my head, so very faint at first, but now a searing pain in my ears. Sirens. Yes! I think to myself. Yes, take me to her, take me there so I may lie with her once more, and let me sleep in her eyes. Darkness is coming, I try and push it away, and it smirks at me as it engulfs my light, my love, my precious Ally.
Blood and smoke fill my nostrils and then fade away. Feeling drains from my limbs, the pain is dulling, my mind is fading. All is silent as I hang in limbo, silent, except the pitter patter of my straining heart, of my dying heart. Hurry, I think. Hurry, and let me see her once more. I reach out my hand. This is it. My light is nearly diminished. Ally reaches out to me, and then she is gone. At the end of my fingers I feel the cool of my windshield, and the sticky, wet blood that lay on top. I trace a heart with my last breath, my last movement. A heart for Ally.
All pain is gone. I can feel myself move away from that body, that destroyed corpse lying entangled in a mass of steel. I float higher and higher hovering about the scene. The semi-truck sat overturned 100 meters away, nothing compared to the destruction of my own truck. I soared above, looking at the disarray I had caused. Regret coursed through me, and oozed down the outline of my soul.
Ambulances were coming, coming by the dozens. Along with them, came a collection of fire trucks and police officers. I watched them rip apart the frame of my truck trying desperately to save me from my own mess. I wish I could have told them, told them that I was already on my way, floating weightlessly above them, far above them, and that nothing they could do would bring me back down. You can’t un-burn an already burnt match.
They pulled my mangled body from the wreckage with hope smeared all over their faces, praying that they had gotten there just in time, just in time, to save the 17 year-old, high school football star. Their hopes would soon be dashed, snapped and smacked across the room. Ambulances stood ready, their crews sprinting into action. I was slung onto a gurney and into a bus. I lowered, watching my body trying to be thrown back into life. “On three!” one of them shouted. “On three, clear!” the others stood back. “One, two, three, CLEAR!” Defibrillators were pressed onto my chest. Again, “CLEAR!” I felt a slight tingling flow through me as I floated above the panorama. “CLEAR!” Smack. Another shock to the chest, it was too late. I could feel myself being pulled higher, this time darkness was nowhere to be found. Light welcomed me, my Ally welcomed me. I looked down as I drifted away. The words of the paramedic echoing up to me. “CLEAR!” Shock. “CLEAR!” Shock. “CLEAR!” Shock.
“On three, clear!” the doctors voiced boomed in the small room. “One, two, three, CLEAR!” Shock. The heart monitor exploded to life, growing stronger with every passing second. The doctors congratulated each other, and stood there for a split second, admiring the beating heart.
Glimpses of light filled my vision like a flickering disco ball. I tried desperately to hang on to any ounce of it that I could. I could only think of him, Jack. His navy blue eyes enticed me, drew me in, like a bumble bee to a sweet smelling flower. He smirked at me. FLASH. A bright light rocked my eye sockets, while muffled sounds rushed through my ears. He smiled again. FLASH. Brightness swallowed me. My senses became as sharp as scalpels. My eye lids flashed open, white lab coats surrounded me. There was a sickly sweet smell to the air, a mix between iodine and lemon. Soon my eyes became heavy, and tired. I let them fall down, hesitantly, afraid I wouldn’t be able to open them once they shut. I could sense relief; it enveloped the room, pressing me hard against the cold surface I laid on. Thoughts swirled and gushed around in my brain. I tried to remember exactly where I was and why I was there. All was fuzzy and jumbled. It felt as though someone had poured hot lead into my brain and let it soak into the deepest pockets of my memory. There was an unmistakable feeling though, something felt different, and a hallow pain welled in my chest. Sleep overtook me, and I prayed that when I woke, my memory would follow its lead.
Soft jazz filled the room, my favorite. I felt like a bat, using sonar to detect my surroundings. My eyelids felt warm against my otherwise cool and clammy skin. My hand had a slight quake, and I could feel a cold needle sticking into the crease of my forearm, sending a lukewarm liquid coursing through my veins. A faint beeping emanated the room at a soft, constant beat. A comforting sound compared to the usual irregular sound of my dying heart. I was in a daze, Jacks sweet smile periodically flashing through my vision and causing the steady beeping to rush, just a little bit. I could feel the day slip away, my sense of time completely askew. There was a slight pitter patter of rain as it slapped against the glass of the window, and thudded on the roof. Voices trailed in and out of the room, sweet voices, familiar voices. I tried to coax my eyes to open, I focused all of my energy into their movement alone. I grew tired and continued to slip back into my own little world, again and again.
Birds were chipping outside the window when I awoke. I could feel myself crawling back towards reality, my body dancing on the fine line between consciousness and my own world. I managed to lift my eyelids slightly, letting what felt like thousands of watts of light pour into my retinas. The pain in my chest was strong now, a burning flame gouged deep in my chest cavity. I controlled my breathing, and tried once more to open my stubborn eyes.
This time, they opened with ease. Slowly, my vision came to, and I matched all of the sounds I had heard to the objects in the room.
My iPod sat attached to its speakers on the card covered table. Roses and balloons took up the rest of the space. I tried once again to remember what had happened to me yesterday, but still could not. I looked around the room in search of mom, or anybody that could help explain why the h*ll my chest hurt so much more than usual. There was no one, not even Jack. I waited impatiently for 10 minutes, giving the nurse time to check on me. Finally, I had enough. I dug around my bed in search of the patient remote to call someone to come see me. I found it, and pressed the immediate service button, repeatedly, hoping that they would get the message. A nurse soon raced in. “Ally!” she said excitedly, “I’m so happy that you’re awake! We’ve been wondering when you would show up again!” I winced, her voice was loud in my delicate ears.
“How y’all feelin’?” she asked impatiently.
“My chest…” I mumbled, “My chest. It hurts a lot.”
“Well of course it does, sweetie!” She replied. “You’ve only just had surgery one day ago!” her southern accent ringing in my ears.
“Surgery?” I asked in a daze.
“Yes, sweetie, a match came in on the donor list and they pulled you in for surgery right away.” She answered.
“I, I, have a new heart?” I struggled to spit the words out.
“Why yes sweetie, I would hope sure hope so!” She chuckled.

I sat dumbfounded, while she adjusted my IV and pain meds. How could I have not put it together? The hallow pain in my chest, the bright flashes of the defibrillator. It all made so much sense now. I had a new heart; I wouldn’t have to worry about making it till tomorrow. Tears streamed down my face, my dream had come true. I needed to talk to Jack. He had to be the first one to know.
At that moment my mom came running into the room. “ALLY!” she cried, “ALLY! You’re okay!” She swung around the side of the bed and raced down to kiss my forehead.
“Yes, mom.” I smiled at her, and watched as her face burst into a grin.
“How do you feel? Are you in any pain? Do you need anything at all?” A thousand questions raced out of her mouth in a split second.
“My chest is a little sore, but other than that I feel fine, mommy,” I replied.
Relief swelled into her eyes, and beamed out at me.
Night came, and it was just my parents and I in my little hospital room. My mother got up every couple minutes, always wanting to make me feel more comfortable, fluffing my pillows, bringing me apple sauce. The TV blared the channel 7 news, talking about the latest theft and newest health hazards. I tried to catch some sleep, but the anti-pain medication made me to antsy to get any more than five minutes of it. I picked up my phone, hoping to see a call or text from Jack. Nothing. I’d called at least half a dozen times, the need to tell him the great news ate me up inside. Something caught my attention. The TV broadcaster’s voice roared, “An accident has been reported that occurred on Eastbay Highway yesterday evening. A red Ford truck collided with a semi-truck at around 10 p.m. The driver of the semi-truck, 57 year-old John Lupe is in stable condition at St. John’s hospital. The other member 18-year old Jack…” The cable cut out. My mind raced. Jack drove a red Ford truck.
“Mom!” I yelled, “Jack drives a red Ford truck. You don’t think…”
“No, of course not honey. Have you tried calling him?” she asked.
“Of course I have! He hasn’t answered.”
My doctor walked in. “Hello Ally!” He boomed. His tall frame standing intimidating over my bed. “How are we feeling?”
“Fine,” I replied, distracted, still moderately worried about Jack.
“Aren’t we lucky to have had found a match yesterday!” he said.
“Yes.” I replied. “How did you find one so quickly?” I asked. “I’ve been on the list for years now.”
“Well, unfortunately, there was an accident southbound on Eastbay Highway yesterday, and a young boy was killed. However, his heart saved you last night Ally. He just happened to be the perfect match,” the doctor replied.
So many thoughts flashed through my head. I stumbled to come up with a response. “Who, err, what was his name? The boy that saved me?” I finally managed to spit out.
“Well, let’s see…” he answered as he walked over to the clip board at the end of my bed.
“Jack Turner was his name. Poor kid, only 18,” the doctor replied.
My heart froze, which was not a good thing, considering it was brand new. Jack, Jack Turner, my Jack Turner? No. It couldn’t be. He was here the other day, visiting, smiling. No. I called his phone again, and again, and again. Later that night we got a call, it was from Jack’s parents. Jack had had been killed in a car accident last night. I had received Jack’s heart last night. Jack’s heart lie beating inside my chest. I panicked. I started screaming and yelling, “NO! Take it out! Take it out!”while clawing at my chest. Nurses ran in and tried to hold me down. “Bring me my heart back!” I yelled. “Bring me back my Jack!” I wouldn’t calm down, I couldn’t calm down. I felt a sharp pain drive into my quad, and then all went dark.
I woke up to my own scream, shooting up in bed like a pistol later that night. Tears poured down my face as I remembered what I had learned earlier. My mom came over, and held me, rocked me as I shuddered. Jack’s face appeared, and smiled once more. “It’s okay,” he said, “Now we can both live.” And with that, I fell asleep to the sound of our beating heart.

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This article has 10 comments. Post your own now!

callieeebeth This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 3, 2011 at 2:34 am
I couldn't breathe while I was reading this. Very veryyy good!
sophierice14 replied...
Apr. 3, 2011 at 3:28 am
awesome! ..sorry bout the breathing though haha. thank you!
MaryKate said...
Mar. 31, 2011 at 7:38 pm
Oh my God, Oh my God, oh my F'in God! He died...I'm sobbing right now. Your writing is awesome. It takes really good writing to make me cry.
sophierice14 replied...
Apr. 1, 2011 at 11:34 pm
Man, im just makin people cry left and right with thing thing haha. Glad you like it, thanks for reading :)
Your friend's mom said...
Mar. 30, 2011 at 7:32 am
I liked it a LOT! What an original idea! 
sophierice14 replied...
Mar. 30, 2011 at 6:34 pm

thank you friends mom! haha

im glad you liked it!!

nibormyers52 said...
Mar. 29, 2011 at 11:44 pm
gave me the shivers, very sweet... i liked when you used the word synaps for his thoughts 
sophierice14 replied...
Mar. 30, 2011 at 6:33 pm
haha, i like it too. synapses. good word
teeninkwriter said...
Mar. 29, 2011 at 5:48 pm
this made me tear up. wonderful writing .bittersweet love story tho, keep writing
sophierice14 replied...
Mar. 29, 2011 at 10:33 pm
thank you!
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