parallel – informal – crude – expand – popular
unlikely – analyst – replacement – cell – chest
It was the day Sarah had been waiting for for nine years, but she couldn’t help but feel the weight of the tragedy that was parallel to her relief. Here she was, twenty-three, and this morning’s dose of beta blockers would her last after every day since fourteen, all because a girl two cities away was hit by a car while walking in the rain.
“How old was she?” Sarah asked as they transferred her from her wheelchair to a hospital bed for pre-op. “Seventeen,” one of the nurses finally said after a long, busy silence.
“And her name?” “Lie down, Sarah.” “Just her first name.” The nurses strapped her down and began rolling her down the hall to the operating room. When they arrived at the doors that her parents could not pass, Sarah’s grip on both of their hands loosened. “We love you, honey. We’ll see you very soon,” they were saying, crying. But Sarah couldn’t feel nervous for the surgery. “Her name,” she demanded again. A nurse at her head sighed and checked the clipboard attached to the bed. “Maribel,” she said. “Maribel,” Sarah repeated softly, relaxing. Her replacement heart has come from a girl named Maribel.
The procedure went smoothly. Aortas now expanded and collapsed in Sarah’s chest, when hours ago the beating cells belonged to another life. When Sarah awoke she could only think of the funeral. “Did I miss the service? I want to go.” “Honey, you have to recover…” This was from her parents and the nurses both. “Wheel me there, I don’t care. I have to go.” And so, after only one day of rest in the hospital, but showing an unlikely strength, Sarah was driven to the funeral.
Sarah learned, sitting at the back of the quiet, weeping room, that Maribel was going to college in the fall to become a data analyst. She also learned Maribel Anne Porter was staggeringly beautiful and popular too. They said it shone off of her like an angel’s halo. Sarah felt embarrassingly informal when meeting Maribel’s loved ones. She sat in her wheelchair, still in a pair of her hospital pyjamas, with her scars still crude and sore under her clothes.
At a moment when she was alone, a boy, twenty, introduced himself as Jeremy, Maribel’s boyfriend. After talking pleasantly, the two gently shook hands in goodbye. Sarah was stunned then to feel a waver in her heart. It felt like a tower bell had been struck with a sledgehammer.