The woman finished washing the blood from the walls. With an economy of movement, she tidied away the bucket and bleach and made the room more inviting by throwing a few pillows on the couch in a deliberately casual display. There was nothing she could do about the smell except open the windows and hope for a breeze. She flopped down in the armchair and turned to the couch.
“I’m afraid you’ll be dead soon.” At the widening alarmed eyes and shaking head she said, “Don’t disagree with me. Robert would never have disagreed with me.” She took a pack of cigarettes from her apron pocket and lighting it she inhaled deeply. “Besides, I’ve seen this happen before. Your body is rejecting the organ and I’ve run out of medicine to give you.” She shrugged. “I had enough pills for the first one, he got my baby’s eyes.” The moan from the couch made her frown. “Robert wouldn’t make such a noise.” She sniffed. “My Robbie was a good boy, my perfect boy. And they took him away from me.” She allowed herself to remember, despite knowing the pain would tear her apart. Whispering, she was back to the day her life ended. “They called me at four in the morning. No one calls at that time so I knew it was bad news. Bad news always arrives at night. They said there had been an accident, could I get there as soon as possible. It was the same hospital he had been born in.” She stopped to light another cigarette, blowing the smoke and watching it rise until it was a haze against the dirty ceiling lamp. “He was dead by the time I got there. Car accident. I never saw him.” She blinked a few times and cleared her throat. “They made me fill in forms. My darling’s body was a few feet away and they made me sign forms. They took my Robbie away before I could say goodbye.” She looked over at the couch. “He was an organ donor, you see. They had to get him to the operating room so they could take him apart. He was a wonderful boy, even after death.” She shook her head and smiled grimly. “And your time is close, just like all the others.” She turned to the couch and, reaching out, took the girl’s pale yellow hand. “You were the best so far, you know that? You learned quickly. Just like my Robbie, he was such a smart boy.” She sighed and for a moment returned to a happier time. “My baby became an organ donor so that if anything happened he would still be here for me. So that I could find him, all of him, and we could still be happy together.” The woman frowned and learned over the couch. She put her hand to the girl’s neck and shook her head.
Two weeks later she was at her job as a worker in the hospital cafeteria. Having taken the position three months earlier she had discovered quickly how lax hospital security was when it came to patient records. She walked over to where a young woman was sitting and started wiping the table surface.
“Excuse me dear, I see you’ve got a medic alert bracelet. Are you a diabetic?”
“Oh no, I’m an organ recipient.” The young woman smiled shyly.
“You don’t say.”
Copyright Kelly Evans