She was born with a rare disease, thousands and thousands of needles surrounding her tiny baby heart as a hedge of thorns.
“We can operate, said the doctors to her desperate parents.
And so did they, removing one by one the minuscule needles threatening her heart.
“Alas we cannot take any further risks, they said. Her condition is a mystery and we are unable to predict how long it will take before the needles pierce through her heart.”
Inconsolable, her parents patiently waited for her final hours, living each passing day in the excruciating pain of helplessness. She was closely monitored for the doctors could not foresee the outcome of such an uncommon predicament.
However, as time flew, years went by and soon enough she grew into a cute little girl, who then became a cute teenager and finally a lovely young lady grounded into the gilded-caged life of reassuring habits her mother and father had built for her. She knew how she was supposed to love them, how she was supposed to cherish the sacrifices they had made to provide her with a steady life in spite of her strange disease. Nevertheless, all their attempts to connect with her left a numbing sensation of discomfort and intense suffocation.
Only, you have to understand, it wasn’t ingratitude. While she grew like all little girls, her heart couldn’t blossom and flourish fearing the hedge of thorns and their aching promises. For this very reason, she could not feel as much as the others, nor could she love as strong as the others.
At school, she would always stand aside unaware of why her little comrades would laugh so loud, why the adrenaline would rush to their rosy cheeks while they would chase each other. Why was it so important to them, not to be caught or not to step on the wrong squares drawn on the floor. Even today, as an adult she was still struck by how meaningful the littlest things were to her fellow team mates. She was used to look at them with weary eyes they often mistook for defiance. She liked them alright, but as always, she was lacking the understanding of their deepest trivialities.
Every morning, she would take the same pathway to work, passing by the library she liked, the old florist, the tempting bakery and cross just right before the travel agency she would carefully avoid in fear of being forced to make conversation with the creepy old lady who was always standing by the entrance door.
She wasn’t paying much attention that day, when she crossed the street at her usual spot and got hit by a passing bike. In chock, shaking uncontrollably, her heart started racing and pounding —so loud everybody could hear it. And right there, in her ribcage, the bloody pump grew a few inches larger to meet the perilous hedge.
Gasping for air, her right hand clenched into a fist on her chest as she felt the sudden change happening inside of her. She grabbed onto the nearest pole and tried to stand back up on her feet, but all she could do was trembling, panic slowly paralyzing her brain. Struck with fear, she was going to die, right here, right at this minute. It was the only thing she could think of.
In her desperate attempts, she had not even seen the crowd that had grown around her not knowing what to do, for in this small town of hers, everyone knew how sick she was. Reluctant to even touch her or comfort her while waiting for the ambulance they had called, they had gathered to watch the scene, forgetting the biker who had made time freeze that morning.
Little did they know, he only had arrived in town the day before. The heedless newcomer could not possibly wrap his mind around the fuss he had created. He had had accidents before, could understand the alarm, the worry, the anxiousness but the scene quietly unraveling before his eyes was of another kind. Exasperated by their cold passivity, he finally got to the girl elbowing his way through the mob of onlookers. On the verge of passing out off her fright, he did what no one wanted to do… he grabbed her wrist, looked into her eyes and… violently slapped her out of her panic attack.
Transfixed with stupor, their audience went mute… but not for long. A low murmur made of nervous questions whispered bystander to bystander slowly rose, echoing soon in unison with the distant sirens. Their gaze weighing heavily on his neck, he failed to gather the words of spite and reproof which were clearly addressed to him. Startled, he chose to give the girl his undivided attention now that she could breathe normally again.
Taking a quick look for himself, he could see she wasn’t hurt too seriously except for a few scratches and that cut on her right calf. He couldn’t help but think it would certainly leave a mark later on. Finally, the ambulance broke through the crowd, scattering the voyeurs like pigeons in a train station. They flew off indeed… only to come back as quickly as they could to grab the last breadcrumbs of what was maybe the most exciting thing that had happened that year in their closeted neighborhood.