A Chance Encounter with Life
A Short Story by Lawrence Kirsch
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This pain was different than any other pain she had felt in her 62 years of life. A spasm so intense it forced the breath from her lungs. She clutched her chest.
She could feel her face turning white as the blood drained from her head. That was a familiar sensation to her. Many years ago her face went pale, as if she had seen a ghost. There was, of course, no ghost. At least not a real one. Her pain back then was shallow, yet it seemed to cover a large portion of her body - emanating from her lower abdomen, wrapping around her waist and extending to her groin. Lying on her side with her knees raised to her chin seemed to lessen that pain. She considered that position now.
A second spasm struck her as if a long, thin ice pick had been plunged deep into the center of her chest. Her fork, still holding a chunk of the chicken cordon bleu, slid from her left hand as the knife chipped the fine china plate on its way to the floor.
Her dinner companion looked alarmed and his reaction shocked her. Something was happening to her and others were beginning to notice. Apparently she could not hide this. She tried to speak but she could form no words.
Her heart felt like it exploded. She forced a glance fully expecting to see blood gushing from a deep gash torn into her chest. There was no blood. No gash. Only pain.
She had seen blood before, long ago. Her own, and lots of it. Flowing from between her legs. God's punishment, she thought. You can't expect to do that and not get the attention of the Almighty. She was sure she would die that cold, December morning. She was scared. To old to be babied, to young to face it alone.
Maybe she had His attention tonight. "What was the special occasion?" She thought. Before she could seriously consider the options, she fell out of her chair.
Distant sounds circled above her. Muffled voices shouting commands. Then a firm, knowing voice - "I'm a doctor."
She's known doctors before. Some can end a life just as creatively as others can save one. She wondered what this doctor's intentions were.
"There's no pulse, " that voice called out. She felt warm lips touch hers and the rush of hot air filling her lungs. "So, this is dying," she wondered. She could certainly do without all that pain. But things did seem to settle down quickly.
She wondered if his death was similar. Or did he have no sensation at all. She struggled to remember him, his tiny, little body, soaked with blood. Years of forcing such thoughts from her mind conspired against her. Her brain was dying anyway, why bother now.
What did that doctor say? He had a strong heart. Yes, a strong heart - that he might last a while. Longer than she could bear to wait. That little heart had so much courage, and hers had so little. Maybe strong hearts run in the family. She considered her chances.
The voices were fading. She could feel her body being tugged and pushed. "Where was that light everyone talks about?" she questioned. Leading her to heaven. Maybe she would see him again. Her son. The son she once bore before she understood love.
She believed she could love that little baby now. Her years had taught her to look beyond her own selfish wants and needs. She had given her love and had received love. But that was gone now. Too many lost loves.
Suddenly, the pain exploded over her body and she choked, gasping for air. Someone had forced life back into her body. That doctor. The type that saves lives.
She opened her eyes and the doctor brought his face close to hers. He had a kind face. His soothing voice told her to relax, that an ambulance was on its way. It was a familiar voice, and face. She was certain she had never met him before.
But she had. That strong little heart that should have stopped, did not. He grew into a compassionate, young man. And became a doctor. He understood the miracle of life, and wanted to be a part of it.
A one in a million chance encounter, brought these two people together. The breath of life passed between these two lost souls, and nothing else.