The Music of the Heart
Everyone has been asking me why I settled with Queen, but the only answer I could give them was that I love her. As far as I can see, there was no other reason. My puzzle of a life couldn’t be complete without her. Queen will always be the piece that makes my life whole.
My friends said I was too stupid to choose Queen. I never asked them why because I know the answer to that. Queen was weak. She always has been. Funny how it bothered them while it didn’t for me, maybe because nothing else matters as long as I can hold her in my arms and call her mine.
“Ty!” I heard her cheer from downstairs. I hurried down only to see her wearing pajamas. I didn’t know if I would laugh or be worried.
“What’s with the outfit?” I asked, still wondering what was going on. Her shoulders slumped then sat on the sofa. I sat beside her, wrapping my arms around her. She looked at me, her brown eyes apologizing. A part of me started to panic. Something was clearly wrong. Maybe I didn’t notice it at first but it started to show on her face.
“What’s wrong?” I asked. Her eyes begged me not to talk about it but I couldn’t ignore the fact that she looked like she hasn’t slept for a week—pale, thin, swollen eyes, which was ringed with black.
She opened her mouth as if to speak but instead, she cried. I wrapped my arms around her and didn’t speak. The only sound in my living room was her sobs. I could feel my chest tightening. I never liked seeing her cry. It was like there was nothing I can do to make her feel better. I rubbed her back until she stopped crying.
“Are you ready to talk about it?” I asked. She shook her head, stood up, and went to the kitchen. I stayed in the living room. I shook my head and looked at the kitchen’s direction.
The rest of the day, I tried my best to avoid asking her what was wrong. I was good at avoiding it, but my face probably showed how much I wanted to ask her, because in the middle of talking about funny moments, she looked at me then frowned.
“Tyler, please.” She sounded like she was begging for her life.
“Could you just please tell me? It’s killing me.”
“Queen, tell me. Not knowing what’s wrong with you is killing me!” I exclaimed.
“No! This is literally killing me!” She exclaimed back at me as she was pointing her chest. My shoulders slumped. I wasn’t stupid not to know what she meant, and I knew her completely to know she wasn’t kidding.
I buried my face on my palms. I couldn’t breathe well. The world seemed to turn 180 degrees. Everything around me seemed to move faster and I was left at the same place, trying to process what my girlfriend just told me.
My head snapped to her direction. “Marry me?”
“I’m not kidding, Ty.” Her eyes were waterfalls. I walked towards her, held both her hands and looked at her in the eyes.
“I’m not kidding either.”
For a whole minute, we looked at each other. It was as if she was searching for a hole somewhere in my proposal. When she realized that I was completely sincere, she buried her face on my chest. I wrapped my arms around her and just held her.
That night, I didn’t let go of her. “You could have just told me. I could have gone to the hospital with you.”
“I wasn’t sure I wanted to tell someone. It felt like my world was starting to demolish itself.”
“What do you think happened to my world when you told me?”
“I don’t know. Got brighter, maybe?”
“Are you kidding me? It shifted, Q. My world fucking shifted.”
I pulled the blanket up to her neck before pulling her closer to me. If I could hit the pause button, I would have. It was one of those moments that I want to stay in. Knowing that my girlfriend was dying changed the way I see the world. The colors seemed to be dull, and everything was upside down.
It wasn’t that long that we both fell asleep. The very next day, I woke up still holding her, but something was different. She was cold. Adrenaline kicked in. I checked her pulse, there was a faint beat. I grabbed my phone and called the ambulance.
I sat at the waiting area, my palms sweaty and heart was racing. I needed to know how she was. I couldn’t forget the feeling of how cold she was in my arms. It wasn’t that long when the doctor came. He said a bunch of medical terms but it all came down to one thing—Queen’s heart was too weak that she needed transplant. The doctor told me that Queen was listed third in the list for heart donors.
I wanted to stay beside her but I couldn’t. The doctor told me that I should just return the next day, and that was what I did.
I stood frozen at the doorway upon seeing a machine beside her bed. The doctor was there so I rushed to him and asked him what was going on. He looked at the sleeping Queen before asking me to step out of the room with him, so I did.
“What happened?” I asked.
“During the hourly rounds, an intern felt that her heart was just faintly beating so we rushed her to the O.R. but we couldn’t save it, so we took her heart…”
I cut him off, “You took her heart?” My voice was so loud that everyone in the hallway looked at our direction.
He sighed, “We did but since there was still no donor, we had to think of another way to keep her alive. We attached her to a machine that would keep her alive even with no heart. We moved her to second in the list.” His pager beeped. He looked at me, like he was reassuring me, before he left.
I peeked inside the room. Queen looked so pale. I shook my head, resisting to not cry. I headed to the cafeteria and grabbed a pudding and a bottle of water before heading back to the room.
I ate in silence. It was about five in the evening when Queen woke up.
“Hey.” I managed to give her a smile, knowing she wouldn’t like me worrying too much. She smiled in return.
“I don’t have a heart.” She laughed softly. I would be lying if I said that it didn’t bother me. Queen held my hand, pulling it up to her chest. I couldn’t feel a heartbeat but just a faint hum of the machine.
The whole day, we spent talking about what to do the next day, which I didn’t remember to be Valentine’s Day. I tried my best to avoid talking about her condition. It might just stress her out.
“Sir, visiting hours are over.” A nurse told me. I looked back at Queen, who just nodded.
“Can’t I stay?” I begged. I didn’t want to leave Queen. I needed to stay with her, to be sure she’ll be fine and to be there when she would need me.
“I’m sorry, sir.”
There was nothing I could do. I kissed Queen on her forehead, bid my goodbye, and told her I love her thrice.
I tried going to sleep but I couldn’t. I stayed in the living room, watching a movie when I accidentally kicked the glass on the table as I was putting up my feet. It ignored it for a while but I remembered a belief that when something got broken, something happened bad to a loved one. I didn’t have much time to dress well that I rushed to the hospital wearing my pajamas.
It was two-thirty in the morning when I got there. The ground felt so soft as if I was sinking when I saw doctors and nurses coming in and out of the room. I could hear the orders. I tried my best to drag myself towards the room, even just a bit closer.
Everything around me was moving so fast that I couldn’t follow. I was stuck in my own time, staring at the girl I love. I slowly looked around, at the hospital hallway decorated with heart-shaped balloons. If only those heart-shaped balloon can be a heart for Queen, but with the things I saw, it was too late.
When they told me I could have a final moment with her dead body, I shook my head and left. It wasn’t that I gave up on her; it was just that, I wanted to remember her as a living being. I wanted our final moment to be a happy one, not me sitting beside her dead body and bidding my goodbye as if she could still hear me.
Last words aren’t always perfect but I am glad that our last words to each other were “I love you.”
I never dated again. I pursued my dream of being a musician and songwriter. The very first album I have released was named “Queen.” Mainly because the songs in there were about her and one of them was a song we wrote together.