Hearts on Fire #1

He rushes to the hospital in his rusty, powdered blue pickup. Another important meeting would be missed. But work is the least of his worries. Climbing the corporate ladder is not his priority. Not right now at least. Slammed by traffic he nervously taps on his steering wheel. The tension is as thick as the stifling humidity. Another brutal 35 degree summer day. Some music should help. Absent minded, he turns The dial to any station. After a minute the radio starts to drone on and blend in with the endless line of cars ahead. He sweats profusely as he recalls vivid memories…

Cradling her lightly, his cheeks are wet with tears. Only hours old, so small, so feeble, so amazing….. A miracle in a time so dark. A birth in exchange for a death. The Gift of life crashing against the devastation of loss. Losing the woman you love is an indescribable pain; deep and haunting, piercing places you never thought possible. She died due to complications during the birth delivery. He vowed to never forget her auburn hair drifting gracefully in the summer breeze. The way she would curl her lips right before he kissed her. The countless other quirks and mannerisms he memorized and grown to love. He would never forget the stubborn, beautiful, strong woman he fell in love with.Today would be the last of his life. His last chance to cry openly. His last opportunity to be weak. He would be a father after today. Devoted solely to the life left behind by the woman he adored. But for now, for this one moment, he would let himself be weak. He held her gently against himself. A ball of life so weak, so pure; whimpering to himself ever so softly…

The blast of the horn from the red convertible behind him shocks him away from his daydream. Drenched in sweat and barely awake, his foot slams on the pedal. Back to the hospital. Back to reality.

He bursts through the doors of the lobby. Searching around in a panic; a feral beastly frenzy consumes him. Cool air blasts from the powerful AC sending a chill down his spine. “My daughter! Where can I find my daughter!” He shouts. Grabbing a nearby nurse by the shoulders, “I’m Mr. Cooper, Where’s my daughter!”

Waiting is agonizing, painful, and cruel. Three long hours have passed and his stamina is fading. His faith is being strained and his prayers are left unanswered. Slumped over in an uncomfortable chair; He waits outside the ER, a ball of negativity and concern. He clutches a piece of paper tightly; The last words he saved from his late wife. A small selection of names that have all been crossed out. All but one: Hope. He closes his eyes and starts to sob quietly. Something he promised himself he would never do again….

“Mr Cooper.” A doctor with a weary expression and a hardened face approaches. “Yes, that’s me. How is she? Is she okay?” He tries to read his eyes, but comes up empty. “I’m sorry Mr. Cooper. We’ve done all that we could. She couldn’t be saved. I’m so sorry for your loss…”

The words echo in his ears.
His world goes black and his strength disappears.
This is the day where he losses hope.

Steven Truong

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