Winner Carolyn Zaitew -
By Carolyn Zaitzew
As her bag slowly filled, Chloe began daydreaming about what it might be like to be in that handsome man’s perfectly toned arms, what his lips might feel like on her own, and what it might feel like to be in love again.
Suddenly, Chloe was jerked from her reverie with a feeling of guilt. She had not thought of anyone else in that sort of way since Patrick, and now here she was practically planning her future with this strange man.
It’s been five years and she knows he would have wanted her to move on by now, to finally be happy again, but she just hasn’t met anyone that has made her feel the way he did. Her thoughts drift to Patrick, the way they always do when she donates blood.
He was there the first time she donated and every time for years after that. He was the one who convinced her of the amount of good she could be doing, of the beautiful gift of life she could give someone, simply by donating blood.
Patrick was a firm believer in helping others whenever possible; it was one of the things she loved the most about him. It only made sense that after he passed away, he donated his organs to those who needed them when he no longer did.
It had been their second Valentine’s Day since being married and everything was supposed to be perfect.
Instead, Chloe’s whole world came crashing down after that drunk driver slammed into their car at a red light. The doctors told her that Patrick saved the lives of eight people that day by donating his organs. It soothed her slightly to know that his heart would continue beating and giving a second chance to someone.
Hers, on the other hand, felt like it was shattered.
Now, five years later, the pain has eased, but she still donates every time she can, as it feels like an honor to his legacy to continue doing what he felt so strongly about. She smiles to herself, wipes the tear that had begun to form in her eye, then brings herself back to the present to see the man across from her watching her with a look of equal parts concern and intrigue.
Jason had been sneaking glances at the woman across from him for the past 10 minutes and could swear the whole range of emotions had passed across her face. He longed to know what could be going on inside that beautiful head of hers. He had seen her here several times before but has never worked up the courage to say hello.
He realized he had to act quickly as the nurse began collecting his full bag and removing the needle in his arm. “It’s now or never,” he urged himself. His heart starts to pound and he instinctively reaches up to touch the scar on the left side of his chest.
It has been five years since that Valentine’s Day when he got the call that changed his life forever. He had been waiting months for a new heart - the heart that now threatened to beat out of his chest at the thought of talking to this woman.
He takes a deep breath, slows his pulse, and confidently strides over to finally make his move.
“Care to join me for some fine dining, ma’am?” Jason asks as he gestures toward the table with juice and snacks for the donors.
Chloe laughs at his feeble attempt at a joke, but finds it oddly attractive.
She accepts his offer and they spend the next hour nibbling on cookies and sipping orange juice while talking about anything and everything.
Both of them feel a connection that is impossible to ignore. They may have saved lives by donating today, but Jason and Chloe both seemed to feel like they were the ones being saved.