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Journey of a Heart

Journey of a Heart

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Journey of a Heart

Length:
211 pages
2 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 30, 2021
ISBN:
9781071579800
Format:
Book

Description

This is the story of a thirty-four-year-old man who has a heart transplant. He hears rumors that the heart he received belonged to a young woman who died in a traffic accident. He’s intrigued and decides to investigate. He wants to find out more about the woman and her story. He gets caught up in the quest and becomes obsessed by it.

Despite the necessary anonymity and confidentiality regarding organ donors, he manages, through subtle inquiry and unlimited patience, to find her parents. He also discovers the cemetery where she’s buried as well as her photo, her name―Irene―and her age at death―twenty-two. A surreal connection takes place between him and the deceased, and an impossible love story is born. He begins to have feelings for her. After all, it’s her heart beating in his chest. Things become complicated when he learns she has a twin sister living somewhere in Africa, working with an NGO as a nurse. He decides to leave his life behind and go in search of Irene’s twin. Once he finds her, their love, tinged with drama and passion, is both powerful and fragile. These unusual ingredients combine to offer them an adventure full of torment involving both stormy and sunny weather.

Publisher:
Released:
Jan 30, 2021
ISBN:
9781071579800
Format:
Book

About the author


Book Preview

Journey of a Heart - M. Hermassi

End

M. Hermassi

Journey of a Heart

[copyright page]

This is the story of a thirty-four-year-old man who has a heart transplant. He hears rumors that the heart he received belonged to a young woman who died in a traffic accident. He’s intrigued and decides to investigate. He wants to find out more about the woman and her story. He gets caught up in the quest and becomes obsessed by it.

Despite the necessary anonymity and confidentiality regarding organ donors, he manages, through subtle inquiry and unlimited patience, to find her parents. He also discovers the cemetery where she’s buried as well as her photo, her name―Irene―and her age at death―twenty-two. A surreal connection takes place between him and the deceased, and an impossible love story is born. He begins to have feelings for her. After all, it’s her heart beating in his chest. Things become complicated when he learns she has a twin sister living somewhere in Africa, working with an NGO as a nurse. He decides to leave his life behind and go in search of Irene’s twin. Once he finds her, their love, tinged with drama and passion, is both powerful and fragile. These unusual ingredients combine to offer them an adventure full of torment involving both stormy and sunny weather.

Part One

It's Roberto's birthday (Bob to his friends). He’s just turned thirty-four.

Happy birthday, you old bachelor!

Not everyone’s as lucky as you, Marc! Find me a woman like Gisele.

Oh Bob! Teach Marc how to act properly. He never gives me any compliments. I should have married a man like you.

I’d be happy to do so, Gisele. It’ll be my gift to you for your thirty-fourth birthday.

Happy birthday, Bob. It’s too bad I don't have a sister. You’d make a great brother-in-law.

Ah, here’s another bachelor like me. That cheers me up. Come and help me, Dave.

Bob's small, two-room apartment fills up quickly. There’s a friendly atmosphere. Most of the guests are work colleagues. Bob is a rather reserved, gentle and dreamy young man, but he’s a good, hard worker. His colleagues call him the boss's favorite. Everyone knows each other in the small, ladies’

shoe factory where they work. As for his love life, he’s never had a serious relationship. Bob comes from a simple family. His father, Pietro, an Italian immigrant, worked in the coal mine, while his mother, Antonella, labored as a housekeeper in private homes to help her husband make ends meet and raise their two children: Bob and Lisa.

At the age of ten, Bob experienced his first loss―one that has affected him ever since: his sister died under circumstances for which he felt partly responsible. During an outing on a lake in a neighbor's boat, Lisa lost her balance, fell into the water, and drowned, despite Bob's efforts to save her. From that day on, Bob's life has been quiet and lonely.

After primary school, which Bob struggled to finish, his father enrolled him in a vocational institute where he studied leather goods and obtained a vocational aptitude certificate. He was eighteen when the company, Schumacher, hired him to make models for children's shoes. After a few years, due to his seriousness and abilities, he was promoted to design women's shoes. His bosses appreciate his creative spirit and his work ethic. He’s never made a professional error. His colleagues only reproach him for his withdrawn and lonely side. He rarely laughs. When he turned twenty-two, he experienced his second shock when his boss called him to his office to announce the

terrible news of his father’s death, due to a firedamp explosion in the mine where he worked. Bob now had to take on a new responsibility. His world had lost another dimension and he became a little bit more confined in his silence. He felt he was aging prematurely and found it difficult to bear his new obligations. He was duty-bound to change suddenly from an adolescent into a mature adult. He was now the head of the household and was forced to adapt to his new circumstances as best he could. His mother, turning all her affection and protection toward the only person she had left, monopolized Bob's life entirely. He was everything to her; her reason for living. She even became jealous when he told her about the women he worked with. She would bombard him with questions so as to delay his departures from their house. The years that passed became all one and the same―colorless. The four seasons were all alike for Bob. His days consisted of going to work, coming home, sleeping and going back to work. At the age of fifty-six, his mother fell seriously ill after a bout of acute pneumonia. She was hospitalized for a long time and returned home in a weakened state. Bob then had to try even harder to be a ray of sunshine for her. As his mother's health deteriorated day after day, she demanded even more sacrifices from Bob. He hired a companion for her, further depleting his finances, forcing him to tighten his belt and work overtime. It was fortunate that he neither smoked nor drank alcohol. After three difficult years of coping with the unbearable stress, things became worse and his mother, after a further time in hospital,

died. Bob's world was shaken once again and crumbled like an old building. Bob was now alone. He had to readjust his life once again. Although life with his mother had not been easy, Bob had found her presence at home a real comfort. What was he to do now? Everything in the house only reminded him of his sad memories: first Lisa's tragic accident, then the accidental death of his father, and finally the slow and trying demise of his mother. All the photos on his mantelpiece reminded him of the past.

Bob suddenly made the decision to change things and reorganize his life―a life with more light, more clarity and, why not, a little more cheerfulness in his habits. He packed all his souvenirs into a suitcase, sold the house, bought a two-room apartment in the city, and settled there.

Bob! What are you thinking about? Have you forgotten it's your birthday? Come and dance with me!

Gisele takes Bob’s hand and leads him onto the dance floor.

Bob, shouldn’t you be making plans to get married? It's time, you know!

But who’d marry me? Do you want me to advertise on the internet: ‘34-year-old, sad and lonely bachelor with no life experience seeks companion to fill his days’?

Why do you see life that way? Change your thinking. You should look at things differently and add some happiness to your days.

"That’s easier said than done. You know life hasn't been easy for me. I don't trust anything anymore. Everything has

collapsed around me like a house of cards. What do I have left? My job, that’s all."

Well, it's time to start a family, have children and become a father. That’s what life’s for. Everybody gets a turn.

You of all people know I haven't lived a normal life or one that everyone’s entitled to. I’ve no memory of my best years: life in my twenties. I can only remember disasters.

All the more reason for you to pull yourself together. There’s still time. Do you know what you need? You should get rid of the emptiness around you once and for all. Start by sweeping all your past memories from your mind and begin again from scratch. Take a new direction, one where you’ll have the wind in your sails. That’s what you need; believe me.

The music stops and Bob and Gisele join the others. René calls out to Bob.

Hey, Bob! Next week my wife and I are celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary. We want you to join us, OK?

Absolutely! I’ll be there. Invite a lot of single women. I'm going hunting.

Gisele overhears their conversation. At last! I see a wedding on the horizon! Come on, Bob, let’s toast the bride-to-be!

Bob feels reborn as he emerges from his deep depression. Everyone is pleasantly surprised and toasts him again. The evening has reached its climax. Around midnight, things slowly start winding down. Some of the guests are numbed by alcohol while others swap memories of their youth

and flirt with their partners. Bob, a glass in his hand, dances a slow dance with Gisele, who holds him up so that he doesn’t stumble.

Intoxicated by alcohol, he squeezes Gisele tightly and whispers into her ear.

Gisele, thanks to you, I feel like a new man. Will you marry me?

But Bob, I'm already married!

Oh yes, that’s true. Marc’s a lucky man. I’d completely forgotten.

Bob, I think you should stop drinking now.

Gisele tries to remove the glass he’s holding as best she can. The contents spill from time to time, sometimes on the ground, sometimes on Gisele's shoulder. Bob starts apologizing to her but is unable to finish his sentence. Suddenly, both he and the glass tumble to the floor. Bob groans, contorts his face, and presses his hand against his chest. He seems to be suffocating. His face starts turning blue. Everyone fears the worst. He's showing all the signs of a heart attack.

Their reactions are quick, however, and an ambulance is dispatched on site. Bob is immediately transported to St. Denis Hospital and is checked into the intensive care unit. Outside the entrance, his friends anxiously await news. A doctor emerges from the unit and addresses the group:

There’s no need to wait. Your friend has had a heart attack. He’s unconscious and can’t receive any visitors right now.

Is he in danger, Doctor?

"We’re doing everything we can to help him, but it’s too

early to tell. In cases like these, the first twenty-four hours are always unpredictable. Anything can happen. Come back tomorrow afternoon. We'll know more then. Good night!"

His friends are silent in their shock. Gisele sobs quietly in Marc’s arms.

He was so happy. We’d never seen him that way before. He was even making plans for his future. You know, before he collapsed, he was a little drunk and proposed to me. He forgot I was married.

Come on, honey! Cheer up! I’m sure he'll be fine.

The small group leaves the hospital. Each goes their separate way into the night and becomes absorbed into the noises of the city.

The next afternoon, Gisele and Marc are the first to arrive at the emergency wing. They ask a nurse about Bob.

You mean the young man who was admitted last night for a heart attack?

Yes, that's him!

You know, the doctors aren’t sure yet. He's not fully conscious yet and he's still being monitored. Ask Dr. Grams. He's the chief medical officer of our department. Here’s his office.

In the meantime, others of Bob’s colleagues have arrived. They hope to see the doctor together and don’t need to wait long.

I understand you’re friends and colleagues of the patient. I’m sorry to learn that no member of his family has turned up since he arrived.

As far as we know, Doctor, he has no family living nearby. His parents are deceased and he has no brothers or sisters.

"Yes, that’s what I gathered. You’re his de facto family. Are you aware that your friend has suffered a serious heart attack? We don’t yet know its exact cause. It’s still too early to tell. We’ll make a complete assessment including lab tests and ultrasounds. For the moment, we’re keeping him in a mild artificial coma so his condition doesn’t get any worse.

Unfortunately, we can’t allow any visitors into his room. You can see him through a protective glass but there’s really nothing much to see. He’s sleeping peacefully. We have sophisticated machinery keeping track of his every move. At the moment, he can’t see or hear you, much less speak to you.

Marc interrupts, Doctor, when can we expect to have some clear answers about his condition?

As I’ve just said, we won’t know anything until we have his test results. Then, I’ll meet together with other doctors and together we’ll try to establish a correct prognosis. In the best case scenario, this could take up to a week.

Just then, a small device in the doctor's pocket starts beeping. Please excuse me. Duty calls.

Bob's friends walk over to the viewing window. Behind it, their colleague appears to be sleeping peacefully. They leave the hospital feeling sad. In the days that follow, only Gisele gets

used to looking through the large window at Bob every day and saying a prayer for his recovery.

A week later, Gisele and Marc are back in Doctor Grams' office. The doctor, appearing somewhat stressed, reads through the open file in front of him.

"This is your friend’s medical file. As none of his relatives has made an appearance yet, in all conscience, I’m sharing the results we’ve obtained with you. They’re based on the assessments we’ve made. Your friend is suffering from heart failure, which has reduced his potential blood supply to one-third of its capacity. This would appear to be the result of a continuous depressive state caused by stress. A hereditary factor has not yet been definitely established, but it will be after a second assessment. This will include a DNA analysis of the patient and members of his family, as well as a comparison of electrocardiograms. As a result, we’ve decided to put your friend on the waiting list for a heart transplant. Consequently, he must, in the meantime, lead a very peaceful

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