Disclaimer: I do not own the Ducks.
A Gift From the Heart Alternate Version
I watched her from the bench in front of my locker. She sat next to me and I could hear her rapid breathing. I wouldn't have thought anything of it had the game been at intermission, but the game had not yet started. We haven't even warmed up. I continued to stare at her. Sweat was streaming down her face and I was staring to worry. I could see the pain etched on her face and I longed to know what was wrong.
"Are you okay?"
She didn't even look at me. "Yes." Her voice was soft, barely audible. I knew something was wrong, but I didn't want to push her any further. I had been in her dog house before, and I didn't want to return there. It didn't matter how much we loved each other, if she didn't want to talk to me, she just wouldn't. She's just stubborn and doesn't want anyone to worry.
I continued watching her intently. She was paling quickly, but I remained silent. "Are you guys ready?" I heard Coach Mason barge into the small locker room. His words forced me to look away from Julie. I, along with the rest of the team nodded. "Good, then let's warm up," he stormed out of the locker room.
My eyes returned to Julie as we slowly rose from the bench. I noticed that she had grown paler. I walked behind her all the way out to the rink where, one by one, we stepped onto the ice. I was last, directly behind Julie. I instantly noticed she was unsteady on her feet. She turned to face me. Her face was as white as a ghost, the sweat was pouring, and her breathing was out of control. I froze, horrified as she grimaced in pain. My own breath shortened as she clutched her chest and fell to the ice. I screamed her name as her eyes closed, darkening her world.
I glanced impatiently at the clock on the wall. I had been waiting all morning. At least it seemed that way to me. The rest of the team was there too, but I stayed in a corner alone. No one could know how I felt. This was the love of my life that could be dying. I have never felt so scared before. I would rather die myself then to see something happen to Julie.
It was hours before news came. I stayed back as the others rushed towards the doctor asking about Julie. "Are Julie's parents here? I can only give the information to her guardian."
Of course Julie's parents weren't there. We attended a private school in California. Her parents were in Vermont and probably wouldn't give a damn if she died. I had met them once and they weren't the easiest people to get along with. They gave me the impression that Julie was a mistake they made when they were young, so they sent her away so they wouldn't have to deal with the responsibility.
"I'm her father." I smiled to myself remembering all of the times Coach Mason had lectured us on lying. But now, here he is, lying to the doctor about his identity. "Is she going to be alright?"
The gray haired doctor shook his head, refusing to look anyone in the eye. That couldn't be a good sign. "Only if she has a heart transplant. Julie had a massive heart attack. The only thing that will save her is a new heart."
"How long does she have?"
"A couple of days, a week tops." I froze, my mind going numb. The love of my life was going to be dead in seven days, and there was nothing that could be done to stop it except a heart transplant that would takes months, maybe even years, to accomplish. As bad as I felt inside, I still couldn't bring myself to cry. The rest of the team couldn't stop crying, and I just sat there staring at the wall.
The doctor left and Coach Mason's eyes were now on me. "Go call Julie's parents. You are the only one with their cell number."
The idea stung. The last people I wanted to talk to was Elizabeth, or as I like to call her Elizabitch, and Michael Jennings. I put the money in the pay phone and dialed the number. I seriously considered not going through with the call, but the voice in my head wouldn't let me. Damn my conscience.
"Lady I am not your darling. I'm calling about your daughter."
"What about her?"
"She had a heart attack."
"Is that all?" Like I said, Elizabitch. She was acting like it was just a hick-up or something.
"Your daughter is dying. Don't you care?" I found myself screaming and the eyes of the hospital were upon me.
"No," she practically yelled the words before hanging up on me.
Annoyed, I returned to the others. They glared at me expectantly, looking for the answers. Did you get a hold of them? Are they coming? What did they say? "They don't care."
"How can they not care?"
"They just don't." I didn't mean to scream, but it was a delicate situation, one that I didn't feel like talking about. I just wanted to see Julie. I took a deep breath, trying to calm myself. "Did they say when we can see her?"
"Anytime." Coach pointed towards himself and the rest of the team. "We thought you would want to be the first one to go in and see her. It's the first room on the right." He pointed towards the room, and I practically ran towards it. A part of me wanted Julie to be awake, but another part didn't. I didn't know how I would be able to tell her that her parents didn't care.
I slowly creaked the door open and took a step inside. I could hear the faint whistling of the heart monitor. I could see Julie lying in the bed, hooked up to several different monitors and tubes. I slowly made my way to her bedside and looked down at her sleeping form. She was different than before. She was still pale, but the sweating had stopped. She didn't look to be in any pain, she seemed peaceful.
I slowly embraced her left hand in my own. I kissed it gently as I thought of the words I was going to say. Nothing came to me instantly. I took a seat in the chair next to the bed as I continued to think things over. I never let go of her hand, just like I knew she would never let go of my heart. After a few moments, I knew what I wanted to say. "I don't know how I'm going to do it yet, but I'm not going to let you die." That was all I could say. As I thought some more, I realized it was all I needed to say. I still held true to the fact that I would rather die then to see her taken away from me. What were the chances that a heart would just show up for Julie in the next day or so? My guess would be slim to none.
Just like that my thoughts clicked and I had my solution. I'm sure some people would find it crazy. Some women may find it romantic, like something out of Romeo and Juliet. It may have seemed crazy to others, but not to me.Someone has to die for Julie to live. Why shouldn't it be me?
To be honest, I had always had thoughts about suicide. Like Julie's, my parents weren't that great. Nothing was ever good enough for them. I guess that's why Julie and I always got along so well, both of our home lives left something to be desired. But at least she got to live away from her parents. I was stuck home alone with mine since my older brother went away to college at Yale. Looking back, Julie was the only person who kept me from going through with it years ago. My friends and family only looked at me as their ticket to fame; the man who was going to lead them to a state championship or the guy who was going to earn millions of dollars, in the NHL, for the family so they could live off of me.
I decided to go for it. There was a lot to plan out and so little time to do it. I didn't even know if Julie and I was a match. I checked Julie's chart, looking for Julie's blood type. "A negative." Perfect. Now all I have to do is find out my blood type. I can do that by………donating blood.
I ran out of Julie's room and past Coach Mason and the rest of the team. "Where are you going?"
"To give blood."
I sat back in the chair as the rough looking nurse came towards me with the long, thick needle. My stomach turned in knots as she came closer. I had always been afraid of needles. I had even once tried to lock the doctor out of the exam room to keep from getting a shot. The nurse was at my side all too soon. She grabbed my arm and jabbed the needle through the skin into the vein. Being the baby that I am, I nearly came out of my seat. Pain was something I could not handle. It was then that I decided that my death would have to be by some kind of poison. I figured I would just take a full bottle of aspirin so my blood becomes too thin for me to survive.
I jumped again as the nurse pulled the needle from my arm. She placed a blue wrap over it and told me to leave it on for four hours. "Now you wanted to know your blood type?" I nodded. "You grab a snack and I'll go check."
She walked away and I grabbed a brownie. I hated chocolate, but I ate it anyway. If I passed out, they would probably admit me and my plan would die. No pun intended.
"A negative." The woman told me, and I nearly choked on the brownie.
"Thanks," I told the woman and headed out. There were still a couple of things I needed to accomplish before I could end my life. For one thing, I needed a will. It was the only way I could ensure that Julie received my heart. The will needed to be signed by two different people. I knew I would never get that so I did what I had to do.
"Will you sign this petition to get Julie's name put on the list for available hearts?" Of course, Coach Mason was happy to do it, so was his wife, who had shown up while I was giving blood. Now all I had to do was write what I wanted to happen above their signatures and I was all set.
I decided the best place to do this would be at home, so I made the twenty minute drive and went straight up to my bedroom. It didn't take me long to put the words on paper. Along with the will, I also wrote out a note, explaining my actions to my so-called friends and family. I figured I owed them that much. I read over the words on the paper one last time.
Friends and Family,
I don't expect any of you to understand this, but it is something I feel I must do. I've long felt pressured to be what you want me to be instead of what I want to be. Julie kept me grounded. She understood everything. She is what kept me from doing this already, yet she is also the reason I am doing it now. Don't blame her. She needs the heart and I am willing to give mine to her. Please make sure she gets it. I can't let her die, so I'm going to be the one who goes. Without her, I would be dead anyway.
I put the note on my desk and grabbed the bottle of aspirin. I wondered if there would be any pain involved. My mind was a mess as I slowly opened the container and dumped the pills in my hand. I couldn't move. I could only stare at my hand. Just do it Adam. Julie's life depends on you. Are you crazy? You can't kill yourself. You would be a disgrace. "What a time to start having doubts!"
The struggle in my mind went on for hours. Just do it Adam. Just do it. No, don't do it. I eventually fell asleep and dreamed about Julie's death. I wasn't there. I was at home and had lost my last chance to see her. She had died because of me, because I was chicken. I awoke with a start, sweat pouring down my face. "I can't let that happen." Just do it Adam. Just do it. I pulled the covers off me. They were the only proof that my mother had been in to check on me the night before. Somehow she had missed the handful of pills that were still in their place.
I followed through; taking the pills four at a time until the entire bottle of sixty were gone. I immediately felt woozy and collapsed on my bed. I was going fast and I could hardly hold my eyes open. The phone rang as my eyes drifted shut. The last thing I heard before I left the world was the voice of Coach Mason on the machine. "We've been trying to reach you. Julie died an hour ago."