The Luckiest Girl
Dr. Sophia Jordon was waiting for her fellow student to come into her office. She needed to talk with him. Ever since she knew him five years ago, Andy had been adamant about not giving up hope and not giving up on the patient. He had been that way with Mr. Stone, but the African American surgeon felt there was something else behind it besides their different views on what death was. Andy had not been this upset before. It seemed to Dr. Sophia Jordon that her lover's youngest student was more angry than disbelieving. There was something hidden in his heart that was so deep inside that even the most advanced surgery couldn't detect. She heard his voice in her ears still, even though Victor Stone's organs were now being harvested. "All I know is that I've opened up a lot of chests...and I've never seen God. I've never seen a soul. I've never seen an after life. So until you can show me...that what's on the other side of that door is better than what we have here, then I'm not sending anyone through it." He had been the same way when he had first stepped into the doors of Three Rivers and met her. Dr. Sophia Jordon remembered how there was a lightness in his steps and laughter in his eyes when he worked. Attending Andy Yablonksi was the same as the resident he was five years ago. "It'll be the end of him," the older student Luc Bovell had whispered to her after Andy had begun his rounds. "He'll be dead and unfeeling in another two years." But Andy had stayed the same. It was she who had dulled and died inside. Dr. Sophia Jordon remembered how Andy had saved the life of Scott Becker, a former alcoholic and heroin addict. No one believed that he would ever get a heart or stay clean except for Andy, the youngest student of Dr. William Foster. He believed in second chances and of never giving up. Something happened to him when Mr. Stone wanted to donate his organs. He seemed…to recoil from the fact that the organs could save multiple lives, including the life of his dear Koul. What happened to him?
Dr. Sophia Jordon found the answer to her question when Dr. Andy Yablonski arrived in her office. The surgeon appeared to be shockingly tired. There were dark rings around his eyes, and his former light feet echoed on the carpet. His dark brown hair was ruffled. "You wanted to see me?" His voice was clear despite his physical exhaustion.
"How are you feeling?" Dr. Sophia Jordon's tone was surprisingly gentle. She noticed the surprise in the taller doctor's face, and noticed his blue eyes avoiding her dark ones. "I'm fine," he replied too quickly. He continued to avoid her gaze and cleared his throat. "It's hard to determine the death of a loved one, you know." There was a rasp in his voice. "I know what Laura's feeling."
"No you don't." Dr. Jordon's voice was sharp, the usual tone that she portrayed. But unlike his predictable nodding and silent and concealed thoughts, she saw that Andy's face contract with pain. It was quick, at the blink of an eye - and then Andy turned away from her.
"Andy…?" Dr. Sophia Jordon's voiced echoed her alarm, but Andy didn't listen. He left her office without a word.
Andy's mind was revolving about what Dr. Jordon had said. "No you don't." There was a flash of emotional pain when she had said those words. And now his steps grew more unsteady and vision blurred as he walked away from her office. She thinks she knows me. He thought of Miranda, David, Pam, and Ryan. They think they know me, but they don't. Eventually walking gave Andy a sense of calm, and he found himself in the donor/recipient room where the party was taking place. It was now quieter and mostly emptied, although there were several people who were still talking in hushed whispers. Most of the food had been eaten, and Andy saw several familiar faces when they waved to him. He didn't wave back. His mind was still on Victor Stone, and of his request. "I want to donate my organs to people in need." Shock had become anger and then anger became acceptance. Ever since… Andy's thoughts stopped as he thought of that cold day twenty years past. He couldn't think about it now. His family had died for something good, the physician said. A part of them would always exist. Andy thought if he specialized in transplant surgery, he would come closer to understanding the true meaning of his decision to give life. When Victor had chosen to give up his organs instead of living a life of thinking and feeling with the only family he had left, Andy became angry. Some people don't have that choice. Others wondered why Andy became so excited about the donor/recipient party held every year, but he didn't tell them the truth. The truth was that he hoped to see the person who had his mother's lungs, his grandfather's pancreas, or his sister's heart. But so far in the five years he had been at Three Rivers, no recipient had come to him. Andy sighed deep from his chest. I wanted to make certain that no one had to make that decision again. Like Laura Stone…I know what it feels like.
Andy's thoughts were interrupted when he saw a young woman approaching him. Her hair was coal black and her features were Asian. The only thing that stood out was her eyes. They were green. Her steps were rushed and unsteady as the woman ran to meet him. She was about as tall as he was, a couple inches shorter, and her breaths came in gasps as if she had run a mile. "My name is Hisako Tsukitomo, and I was a heart transplant recipient of Three Rivers a long time ago." Her eyes locked with Andy's own, and he felt something, a jolt of some kind – passing through him. "Are you Dr. Andrew Yablonski?"
"Yes," he answered. Somehow he wasn't even bothered by the fact that she called him by his given name. Suddenly the heart transplant recipient smiled and embraced him. Andy felt her arms around his neck and her breaths in his ears as she held onto his tall form. Hisako continued to gasp and Andy realized that she was crying. Her tears soaked into his lab coat and scrubs and his arms steadied her as she shook. Slowly the woman broke away, and she smiled again, this time with a tenderness that wasn't directed at him. It was as if she was seeing someone else.
"I got this heart when I was six years old in 1989. I was very sick." Her voice was clear with moments of tremor. Andy found himself mesmerized with the story, for his heartbeat was in his ears. He thought of his family who had died, who he had let them die. Could it be…? "By the time my father found the money to pay for the transplant, I was dying. But someone saved my life." Tears welled in her eyes again, and Andy's eyes too were tearing. "Your sister, Dr. Yablonski. She saved my life with her death." Andy's mind relived the memories he hadn't thought about in a long time. His little sister, Lily, asking him to play with her. He remembered when she was born, and how much love he had felt for the infant even then. Lily was always able to make him feel better, even when his other family members couldn't. Andy could still recall the happiness in her smile and laughter in her eyes. She told him that she would never leave him because he was "the only big brother she would want." He remembered too of how her dark curls had dulled when she died, and of how pale her skin looked. Ghostly pale, and so cold...quiet. How could I live when she died? Andy still wished that he had traded his life for hers twenty years earlier. He wished he could have said, "I love you" one last time to all of them. He wished that he couldv'e said goodbye. Now the tears flowed from his eyes as Hisako Tsukitomo told him how grateful she was to a little girl who was named Lily Yablonski. "I never forget her, Dr. Yablonski," she whispered. "She gave me life at the cost of her own. We would be the same age, you know." This time it was Andy who embraced her. This time it was his tears that coated her clothes, and he closed his eyes tightly, never wanting to forget the small child, his beloved sister, that had given life. The two sobbing people held each other for another moment. They whispered
"Thank you," to each other, and slowly Hisako Tsukitomo disappeared from Andy's sight. Andy stood there for a minute, his eyes still on the place where his sister's heart had been beating from within. The last two tears fell to the ground as Andy realized that Lily hadn't died for nothing, and that she would always be there, although distant, beating.
Dr. Sophia Jordon watched the entire situation from the shadows. She had watched Andy and his sister's heart recipient exchange embraces and tears. Now Dr. Sophia Jordon knew why Andy always looked forward to the donor/recipient parties. Was this the moment he had been waiting for? She knew that she had wounded Andy greatly with her words. "No you don't." Dr. Sophia Jordon felt ashamed. Andy had suffered greatly from his family's death from what she had heard him tell the young women, and had to make the decision to donate his family's organs to people in dire need at a young age. Mr. Stone represented something Andy didn't want anyone to face again. Dr. Sophia Jordon was in the hallway, and thought about seeing the tall surgeon one last time before she heard a song vibrating from his office. Although she hadn't heard Andy sing, she had heard his wife say that he had a beautiful voice. She hadn't realized how deep his voice took until she heard the words.
"Take a breath
I pull myself together
Just another step
Until I reach the door you'll never know
The way it tears me up inside to see you
We hear your voice
It's drowning in the whispers
You're just skins and bones
There's nothing to take
And no matter what I do I can't make you feel better
If only I could find the answer to make me understand."
I'm sorry, Andy. Dr. Jordon thought. I'm sorry for everything.