Hope was a fickle means. An inkling that transcended many heights. Hope that battled with time which was on the verge of crumbling to soulless shards and fragments of what it used to be. 

In a hospital room, the antiseptic-filled air and the soft hum of medical equipment were a constant presence. A constant presence for a young woman, Lily, who was trapped in a room with rhythmic symphonies of beeping monitors and hushed conversations of retreating medical staff. The spirit in her soul and the beating of her heart matched the tempo of a dying identity. 

Years of battle against a heart condition left her tethered to the strings of machines; the only hope keeping her alive. 

Death was an imagery she had always wished to never come close to— yet, after spending many impactful years in the halls that threaded both life and death, the optimism she held soon started to drift further away from paradise and into the clutches of despair and longing. 

One hopeful year turned into two. 

Which in turn, turned into three. 

From four to eight to an infinite number of days. 

A lifetime of years; waiting, longing, and hoping her heart could manage to stay stronger for a potential match. 

Each day, a part of herself started to wither. A reminder of the risk she was willing to take by hanging on to a single thread. 

Some called her crazy, and most called her a lunatic. Yet, despite the frail echo of her heart, Lily had a trickle of belief that everything was going to be just fine.

And it did.

The brush of trees as droplets of rain cascaded down its leaves, Lily blankly stared out at the window beside her, reaching out with her weakened fingers to tap against the cold glass; tracing down the water droplets that raced to reach the bottom of the casement. Her mind solely focused on the phenomena happening before her, the light knocks on her door were almost forgotten if not for the familiar male figure, calling out to her, “Lily…,” he began, “You got it. We— We’ve found you a match.”

Slowly turning her head over her shoulder, Lily remained in her seat, her lips parting in silent shock as her fingers started to tremor from the reality of her cardiologist’s words. A match? They finally found her a match? After… After all these years? 

If she was able to, she would have jumped up in glee; thrown her hands over her doctor and broken down into complete tears. 

But she did not do such a thing. 

Instead, as silent tears trickled down her cheeks, Lily found her glossy eyes staring up at her doctor, her lips quirked up into a relieved smile. After all these years, they had finally found her a match— after so many false hopes. 

Lost in her own thoughts, Lily revelled at the news. Excitement, anxiety, and appreciation blended into a whirlwind of thoughts, begging to break free from the cage Lily had locked herself into. She thought about the days and years she spent in the hospital, not able to leave and pretend to be a normal person for once. The simple joys she had wished to experience, the dreams that would always continue to slip away from her grasp. This new heart, as much as it was a crucial organ to sustain her life— it was finally a chance for a second life Lily had desperately craved.

As the surgery started to approach hour by hour, Lily’s mind oscillated between optimism and trepidation. After so many years of living in fear of the inevitable and falsely wishing for a miracle, the day she had so hopelessly wished for only seemed to be a further step away from what she anticipated. 

Laying on the gurney, Lily found herself in the sterile, white-walled operating room. The silence in the room becoming more overbearing and harrowing. Thoughts started to consume her mind. Was the operation going to be a success? Was she going to live? How long would the surgery last for? Will it hurt? 

As she stared up at the bright lights above her; blinding her vision and ability to understand the situation she was in, Lily’s weak heart started pounding in sync with the beeping machines that surrounded her. The sharp pain in her ribcage was a sign that her time was almost up as the anaesthesia soon took effect, her eyes closed; entrusting her life to the hands that probed at her chest. 

A single beat…

Two beats now… 

Hours turned into a blur…

Jolting up awake, Lily winced at the building pain in her chest; staring at the bandaged section, tingling with both pain and relief. Slowly, as her senses allowed themselves to seep in back to her, the awareness of a new sensation made her freeze in motion.

A steady, rhythmic beat.

It was not just the sound of her own heart, but the sound of her new heart, beating strongly and harmoniously. 

Unable to believe such a miracle could happen to an individual like her, a choked sob escaped her lips. Her frail hands delicately pressing against her bandaged chest as her head hung low; the dampness of her cheeks becoming increasingly more harder to wipe away. She finally had a heart. She finally has a chance at a second life. 

Over the next few weeks, Lily’s recovery started progressing steadily until the few weeks eventually turned into a few months, and finally, into a year. With her new heart and exceptional recovery, Lily was able to get discharged from the hospital— on the condition she came back regularly for check-ups. Though, the thought of leaving the gloomy hospital at last and into a new world warmed her heart. 

Each day was spent trying new and different things. She tried hiking, skydiving, and even stuffing her stomach with a number of greasily scrumptious varieties of fast food. She wanted to do everything with her new heart, push it to its limits. 

And yet, a part of her longed to understand who truly was the person whose heart now beats within her. A strange sense of responsibility started to overtake her— the need to honour the gift she received from her anonymous donor. 

In quiet moments, lost in thought, Lily would sit by the window stool in her bedroom, gazing out at the city adorned by glimmers and rays of twilight hues, the orange blending with the blue— two tides finding peace in a harmonious mix between each other. 

Gently pressing a hand against her chest, Lily swore herself to try to find anyone connected to the person that echoes her heart deep within her chest. 

An invisible red string, tethering her heart and the person who longed to be with their soulmate. 

One day, walking through the park, Lily found herself gazing up at the sunset-patterned sky, admiring the beauty that shone down on her. 

Engrossed in her sketching of the scenery through her eyes, Lily found herself accidentally bumping against an old man. Her eyes fleeting over to him, trying to steady his posture from the hard hit, a frown formed on her lips. “Apologies… are you alright, sir?” Lily asked hesitantly, gently patting the dust off his shoulder as she blinked at him. 

Though, soon as she was going to ask him again, her heart harshly clenched; a gasp escaping her lips as she stared at the older man. Her heart pounding dramatically, Lily tried to stifle her wince as she gazed up at him, finally realising the strange oddity of her heart’s reaction.

Searching in his eyes for any confirmation, Lily found it. The way he stared at her with squinted eyes that held so much pain and longing; the clenching of his knuckles that turned ghastly white. 

He knew. 

“They… they must have meant a lot to you, right?” Lily added tentatively, clasping her hands close together as she inhaled a shaky breath. “Yes. They did. I loved them. They were my… well, as most would like to call it— soulmate.” he replied with a shaky voice, his lips trembling; on the verge of succumbing to despair before continuing, “Take care of them for me. They are… they are a fighter.” 

A soft chuckle escaping her lips, Lily wiped away her tears, gently placing a hand against her chest as she nodded softly at his attempt at a joke. “I’m sorry I had to separate you two.” Biting her lower lip in apology, the older man waved his hand dismissively at her, shaking his head, “No. The two of us will always be attached… at least by an invisible string. I think we will be fine. Now, go off. Go live your life, kid.” 

Inhaling a sudden deep breath, Lily nodded slowly; swiftly embracing him in her arms before continuing her walk through the park. The red string of fate had woven their lives together; uniting them in a bond that was bound to untangle and connect in the next life. 

Humming along to the idea of her heart’s owner and their lover being able to reunite one day, Lily appreciated the solace and connection of this medical marvel. She promised herself to honour the past, embrace the present, and journey forward with her beating heart.

She finally had hope. 

Hope that everything was going to be just fine.     

Written By: Lavanya

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