Shannon dropped her robe and stood before the mirror. She traced the raised scar that marred her otherwise perfect skin. The heartbeat was strong and sure within her. She eased her body into the tub of water, submerging herself until only her eyes and nose remained above water. It was from this position that she could clearly hear the steady rhythm, filling her with a sense of wonder.
The sound was achingly familiar. She remembered another time when she lay lulled into serenity, her ear pressed against Andrew’s burly chest. It was a glorious fall day, with the trees in full color. Death in all its beauty and she was dying right along with the leaves. But for a moment, her impending death was forgotten as she looked into her fiancé's eyes.
They both knew there would be no wedding day. She was done with hospitals. Her final moments would be here, in his arms, beneath a canopy of golden leaves. He had told her how beautiful she was, and she had laughingly called him a liar. Her fingers were purple, and she knew without looking that her lips were as well. She struggled for breath. "I thought I could do this, but I can’t.
We’ve got to get you to the hospital."
Her weak protests went unheard as he gathered her in his arms and drove like a madman. And then it happened, pleading with her to hold on, he pulled out in front of a truck. That was the last thing Shannon remembered.
Shannon awoke in the hospital. Immediately, she knew something was different. Despite the pain, she had strength. She could breathe. She struggled to understand. The accident came flooding back . . . the driver . . . the poor man.
It was only later she learned that it was Andrew that had been killed. It was his heart that beat in her chest. Doctors had harvested his organs and his heart had been a perfect match. She settled deeper into the water, consoled by the same steady beat that had always brought her peace.