Swinging Lamps

Swinging Lamps

For Quibblo Writing Contest no. 24 - voting and commenting is appreciated!

All Carter Campbell's ever wanted is to continue the family legacy, but in an abrupt turn of events, Carter's rose-colored life is brutally shattered by an accident... and everything changes.

Soon after, run-of-the-mill preschool teacher Abigail Price becomes torn between contrasting worlds. As the lines between her mind and heart blur, Abigail's view on life, death and love is turned upside down completely.

Chapter 2

Her Heart, His Heart

The very first thing Abby saw when she opened her eyes was a ceiling.

At a glance, it appeared to be just an average hospital roof: white and tiled, marred by the occasional TL light. But when one continued looking, just like with everything else, there was so, so much more to it. Because inside of it was a tiny pattern, full of yellow and pink and blue and green, just specks that were blended together so perfectly that they seemed to be one single color. And the lights, those allegedly boring lights, were the ones who illuminated the dust particles floating around in the air. There were hundreds of them, all visible to the naked eye, just fluttering around like tiny stars. It was so beautiful, so, so beautiful.

"Abby?"

She turned her head slowly, noting a wide mouth and crow-lines before her sight blurred. A tired croak left her lips; it was enough for him, she knew it would be.

The briefest pause followed, filled only by an exaggerated breath. "They did it, Abigail. They fixed you."

Rise, fall. Rise, fall. Abby inhaled deeply, focusing on the movement of her chest. She could not gather her thoughts together properly - it had to be the anesthesia - but some part of her was digging its claws into the hospital sheets, shrieking in denial, fighting off the hope. It wasn't over, not yet.

"The doctor knows you're awake. He will be here in a moment to tell you how it went and explain what possible side-effects you might suffer from."

Abby closed her eyes. She was right. It was never over. First, one to two days in the recovery room - she really wouldn't remember any of that. Two to three days in the intensive care unit would follow, and after that there would be another week in a private room in the transplant unit. During that time, she would undergo constant monitoring and testing, including regular heart biopsies to check for complications. Graft failure and tissue rejection were always possible. Not to mention that the first three months - a whole summer - after the operation, she would have to visit the hospital regularly. And then, of course, there was the increased infection risk due to the immunosuppressants.

It had all been drilled into Abby's brain, time and time again. She had spent hours doing research on her laptop, checking every site for something she might have overlooked as she waited for her pager to go off - which it didn't, not until what felt to be a century later. Who had died in order for her to be saved? Was it the medicine that made her feel like she did not care? Or was it just exhaustion from all the waiting she had done, all the patience she'd had to have?

"If you want to sleep," her partner said softly, "that's fine. I'll be here, waiting."

"I'm so glad you're here," Abby mumbled.

A warm hand clasped hers gently. Skin rubbed against skin, hot and rough and smooth all at the same time. "As am I."

"Have I been out long?"

"For a perfectly normal time, all things considered."

Abby wanted to sit up - and she would have, if she had not felt so immobilized. "How did the operation go?"

"Dr. McCoy said it was excellent. He even called the heart 'meant for you', said it was a perfect fit. It's a miracle, Abigail."

She had so many other questions - how her students were, whether her parents had already been visiting, if he was okay, whether there were any obvious complications - but she was just so, so tired. Sleep weighed so heavily on her that all she wanted was to follow the bulky figure disappearing into the deep blue fog, into...

The gray and blue waves, tinged with green and yellow, and the blanket of silvery light on the surface that seemed to deny that the waters below were teeming with wildlife: swordfish, tuna, sardines, marlin, all capable of getting caught in the boat's great nets. So many senses had been capable of overwhelming her, too, the greatest culprit being the slick odor of wet skin and gasoline and salt as the nets were hauled on board.

The jagged scars on her large, bronzed hands were beautiful. And how could she ever forget her pudgy fingers, which were forever tying endless knots - simple Figure Eights, Chain Splices, Cleat Hitches to tie their vessel to the shore? And how she was always sitting on that damned deck, whether the water nipped at her toes or was almost as hot as the sweat on her upper lip, trying to perfect the Eye Splice her fingers always tripped over. The best days, though, had been the ones she spent on sea, watching her uncle get seasick while she breathed in the fresh air. And the gray-and-white gulls, forever squawking loudly as they circled above the deck for leftover fish...

Abby's head turned slightly in her sleep as recalled days gone by, days filled with laughter and accidental cuts and seawater and the strong stink of gasoline. Her small hand twitched, still safe in her partner's tight grip, as she dreamed of memories that weren't hers.

*

Glossary of Nautical Terms:

D:

Dockyard

A facility where ships or boats are built and repaired. Routinely used as a synonym for shipyard, although dockyard sometimes is associated more closely with a facility used for maintenance and basing activities, while shipyard sometimes is associated more closely with a facility used in construction.

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