Sophia was lying on a hospital bed and buried in a pillow quietly, desperately and somehow hopelessly crying. A tall, elegant woman in a white robe entered the ward, she approached the crying girl and gently stroked her head.
– Sonechka, my girl. Well, what kind of decadent mood do we have? “What is it?” she asked gently. – Why are the eyes in a wet place?
– Hello, Aunt Val, – the girl raised her tear-stained face. – I’m so scared.
– Yes, what suddenly came over you? Valentina Romanovna smiled. – What upset you so much?
“Aunt Val, but I’m going to die soon,” sobbed Sonya, “and I didn’t really want to. I spent my entire childhood in hospitals, didn’t play in the yard with the guys, didn’t jump rope, didn’t swim in the river. Everything is not recommended to me. Yes, I didn’t even have friends who wanted to mess with the patient. All my life I looked out of the window at the children and envied them.
– Well, hush, honey, calm down. Well, what’s the mood? You’re not going to die, don’t even think about it. Everything is ahead of you. I’ll babysit your kids, you’ll see. – The woman sat down on the bed and hugged the girl. – You will still see different countries, you will fall in love with a young man and he will give you flowers and read poetry in the moonlight.
– If I live to see it…
Valentina Romanovna hugged Sophia to her with pity, closed her eyes. Aching pity for the girl overwhelmed her and her heart was squeezed with anxiety.
Sophia was the child of her close friend. Besides, Sonechka was her goddaughter. When the girl turned twelve, her parents went on a business trip abroad, leaving her daughter in the care of her grandmother. The thing is that the girl was sick, she suffered from a congenital heart defect. The treatment required a lot of money, which could not be earned in their small town. Then Sophia’s parents, having received an excellent education, a sought-after profession, decided to go on a business trip to another country to save money and help their daughter, but a terrible misfortune happened.
An epidemic broke out in the place where the girl’s parents worked. People died without waiting for the vaccine, including Sonechka’s parents among the dead. It seemed that all the troubles of the world had fallen on the poor girl. Over the long years of illness, Sonechka hardened her character and endured all adversities with fortitude, but the death of her parents was a heavy blow to the already weak girl. The disease began to progress. Now a very young Sophia spent most of her time in the hospital, longingly remembered her parents and envied her peers, who were in no danger of anything but a runny nose or sore throat.
Valentina supported her goddaughter as best she could. The woman herself worked as a doctor and gave all her strength to fight the girl’s illness. Unfortunately, simple supportive treatment was almost not helping. Valentina understood that if a girl who had reached the age of 18 did not have a heart transplant operation by this time, she would not live long.
Sofia had been waiting in line for a transplant for many years, but the operation was as rare as it was complicated, and it was insanely expensive, and the queue moved with snail steps. Finding a donor was an incredible success, and at this rate, most likely the girl will not live to 20 years.
Valentina sighed heavily.
– Look, Sonechka, what I brought you, – she smiled, taking a brand-new tablet out of her bag. You wanted this, didn’t I make a mistake?
Sophia wiped her eyes, quite childishly grabbed the gift and unpacked:
– Oh, Aunt Valya, but it’s insanely expensive. Thanks! And I couldn’t even dream of such a thing…
– Well, have fun, and throw sad thoughts out of your head. You still have your whole life ahead of you.
Sonya nodded absentmindedly, completely immersed in studying the new toy, and Valentina Romanovna thoughtfully left the ward, quietly closing the door behind her.
“What to do? How to save your goddaughter? Apparently only by pressure and endless pounding of thresholds.”
Fortunately, the reputation of a woman allowed her to communicate with the most diverse representatives of the authorities. Among the patients she rescued were high-ranking officials from the Ministry of Health. Valentina never took advantage of her position and did not demand gratitude, but the situation developed in such a way that there was no other way out. For the sake of Sonechka, she will step over her pride and moral principles, and will achieve at all costs a quota for a free heart transplant.
The very next morning, the woman was sitting in the waiting room of her former patient. As she expected, the conversation was not easy, but the official himself, who once stood on the threshold between life and death, perfectly understood the condition of his savior and promised to make every effort.
A week later, Valentina Romanovna entered the ward to her goddaughter, smiling happily.
– Sonechka, my dear, I hasten to please you. We knocked out the quota after all. You’re going to have a heart transplant for free.
Sophia smiled sadly.
– I’m glad Aunt Val, really. Just whether I’ll wait for a donor. Sometimes I’m afraid to fall asleep, it begins to seem to me that morning will not come for me anymore. It’s so scary, I’m already suffocating.
– Immediately put the minor out of your head and switch to mizhor! Valentina commanded. – We’ll fight again. The main thing is now you’re first in line. Everything will be fine!
But now a month has passed and the girl’s hopes were fading every day. She felt that she didn’t have much time left. Having abandoned the tablet, Sophia looked out of the window longingly for days and envied those passing by. These people are funny and sad, healthy and not so, lonely and happy, they all did not realize how lucky they were. They wake up every morning and live without worrying about the future, not counting the days and hours before saying goodbye to the world. The heart was squeezed with fear when the girl went into her sad thoughts.
“How so, I will leave and disappear, somewhere in the universe, and where will my thoughts go? My self? My essence? My feelings dissolve in space. Why will dawn also come and people will walk the streets, write music, paint pictures and they will not even guess that I am no longer there and no one on the whole earth will know that such a Sophia lived somewhere, and now there is neither her nor what she calls a soul.”
Thoughts tormented an already sick heart and the girl courageously prepared herself for another world. But the fear of the unknown, of what would happen later, did not go away.
Suddenly, Valentina Romanovna burst into the ward like a whirlwind.
– Sonechka, my girl! A donor has appeared! I’m not happy about someone’s death, but I’m happy about your life. We have a real chance. Do you understand? The donor is perfect for you!
The blood rushed to the girl’s face. She looked at her godmother incredulously.
– Is it true, Aunt Val, or are you just encouraging me so that I don’t lose heart?
– I didn’t lose heart, I didn’t hang my nose, I kept my tail with a gun. Yes, it’s all true! But doner is a reality! We will be preparing for the transplant!
After recovering from the operation, Sophia painfully listened to her inner feelings, thoughts raced chaotically in her head, joy changed with fear, fright outgrown hope. Everything seemed as usual, but the inner feeling of someone else’s heart made me expect rejection tensely.
– Well, how do we feel? – Valentina Romanovna came in. – Why are my eyes wet again.
“It’s scary, Aunt Val,” Sofya smiled with an effort. – What if it doesn’t take root?
– Nonsense. Don’t screw yourself up. The heart fit perfectly. The transplant went without complications, now you will live for a long time, dear!
A long-term rehabilitation began, stretching for several months. All this time, Sophia did not leave the obsessive thought that someone’s heart was beating in her chest now. The girl tried to find out from her godmother:
– Aunt Val, can I find out who became the donor?
– No, Sonechka. This is classified information, no one will tell you the name if the person who gave his consent to the transplant wished to remain anonymous, and your donor did just that.
– What a noble, selfless act, and yet I would like to see at least out of the corner of my eye what my donor looked like. Well, Aunt Val… – Sophia asked plaintively. – Can I at least see a picture? I swear I won’t be interested in the name and address, just the appearance. I will mentally imagine and thank this person. Pray daily for *** rest of the soul.
“All right, Sonechka,” Valentina Romanovna gave up, “I’ll think about what I can do.
A few days later, the woman brought her goddaughter a small photo and asked:
– Here’s Sonechka, this is your donor. I warn you that you have this photo should not be recognized by any living soul. I’ve already broken the rules.
Sofia eagerly grabbed the photo and stared at it intently, a beautiful girl of about twenty years old was smiling cheerfully from the picture directly into the lens, holding a motorcycle helmet in her hands, leaning on a huge, obviously expensive motorcycle or as they were also called a bike.
“So that’s whose heart is beating in me. What a sweet, pleasant girl. What kind eyes and a wonderful human smile,” thought Sonya.
For days on end, the recovering Sofia looked at photos of the girl whose death brought her life and she painfully wanted to know everything about the donor: who she lived with, who she loved, what dishes she preferred, what songs she listened to, loved movies. In her mind, Sophia talked to the girl as if she were a friend:
– What happened to you? How did you die? What misfortune took your life so that I could live?
Questions remained unanswered.
Soon Sophia was discharged from the hospital and returned to her apartment. The grandmother had long since died, and the girl lived alone in a small cozy apartment. The first thing she did was to open all the windows and start cleaning, as far as her not yet strong health allowed. The girl had not been home for a very long time and dust had accumulated everywhere, there was a persistent smell of non-residential premises. Deciding to brighten up the work somehow, Sophia turned on the TV and began to wipe the dust, and absently listening to the rhythmically flowing voice of the television announcer. As far as the girl understood, it was a shelter for homeless animals. A man’s voice told the story of the creation of the shelter at the expense of caring people and told about the work of volunteers, and suddenly Sophia heard the phrase.
– When our program was preparing for broadcast, sad news reached us, an accident occurred in which our volunteer, deeply devoted to helping homeless people and animals, died. Pauline, who was charging with her enthusiasm and never discouraged.
Sofia ran up to the TV with the strongest excitement, her donor, the same girl from the photo, was looking at her from the screen. Then Polina’s friends expressed their condolences, and showed her mother a hunched-over, blackened woman with grief. The girl quickly turned on the tablet, found out on the Internet the phone of the studio that released the story. Having dialed the number with naughty fingers, Sonya found out the address of Polina’s mother with great difficulty and decided:
– I won’t come, I’ll just look from afar.
And she went to the address where Polina and her mother lived until her death. The girl persuaded herself all the way:
– I’ll just have one eye, I’ll just touch Polina’s life from afar, well, I’ll just feel like I’m in that native place for her together and I’ll leave right away.
She stopped in front of the house where the deceased girl once lived and stared anxiously at the front door, not knowing what she was waiting for. Sophia felt an extraordinary excitement, it seemed to her that everything around her was very familiar with something, such a persistent feeling of deja vu. The girl listened to herself and did not understand what was happening. She felt like she was madly drawn to enter these tiny gates and knock on the door of a small, seemingly so familiar and at the same time unfamiliar house. It was as if she felt in her heart that this place was very dear to her, and in her mind she understood that she had a wild fantasy, but she could not help herself and slowly approached the gate. After pondering for a while whether to knock or not, Sophia suddenly heard a pleasant soft voice behind her:
– Girl, who are you to?
Sonya turned around sharply and saw her, Polina’s mother, and immediately became confused, feverishly coming up with excuses to leave as soon as possible, but the woman did not give her this opportunity.
– Are you probably a friend of Polina? Please come in, for some reason I don’t remember you.
“We didn’t know each other,” Sonya said, the first thing that came to her mind.
– Let’s go into the house and you will tell me everything. I’m Claudia Vitalievna, what’s your name?
They entered the house and Sofia stopped dead in the middle of a spacious room, there was a large photograph on the table, tied diagonally with a black flight ribbon. Polina looked at her from the photo with a slightly mocking look.
– What’s wrong with you? Claudia Vitalievna asked, seeing that the guest’s face had changed. – Are you unwell?
“No,” the girl managed. – I was just dizzy, but please tell me about your daughter.
The woman sat down heavily on a chair and picked up a photo of her daughter.
– Well, what can I tell you… Polina, my girl was a wonderful person, kind, sympathetic. Our dad died when Polinka was very young. So we lived together. How she loved animals and not just loved them, she helped them all her childhood. She dragged all kinds of animals home, then she would bring a pigeon with a black wing, treat it and release it, then an abandoned kitten, then a homeless puppy and somehow managed to attach everyone. And how she helped people… While she was little, she ran to the store, then to the pharmacy for the old neighbor, and grew up a little, and even went to feed the homeless. My girl had a huge heart.
At these words, Sofia could not stand it and burst into tears. Claudia Vitalievna was taken aback by surprise.
– Did I upset you with something, Sonechka?
– No, Claudia Vitalievna. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have come.
The woman resolutely sat the girl down in a chair and brought water.
– Have a drink and calm down, tell me finally who you are and why are you crying?
And Sophia told everything to this kind, unhappy woman all her life, up to today. Throughout the story, Claudia Vitalievna sat motionless, staring at one point. When Sonya finished the story, Polina’s mother’s hands were shaking and tears were streaming down her face.
– That’s how it is. It means that Polina’s heart is in your chest, she was my beloved daughter. Even after death, it helps people.
– Claudia Vitalievna, but how… How did Polina die?
– My daughter was very hurried. Impatient, she needed to get everywhere at once. I didn’t want to wait for buses, minibuses. Right after school, I studied for a driver’s license and bought an old moped. After graduation, she got a job and began saving money. Yes, and I helped on my head, and she bought an expensive motorcycle. So I drove around on business. In addition to the veterinary clinic, she also worked as a volunteer in a shelter for homeless animals. So this time I was in a hurry very much and got into an accident to death. I knew that she had bequeathed her organs for transplantation in case of unexpected death. She kept laughing and talking:
– Mom, even when I die, I will live, but I never imagined that I would see a person in whom the heart of my Polina is pounding.
Sofia was unbearably sorry for the unhappy, lonely woman. She came over and sat down on the arm of the chair, hugged Claudia Vitalievna.
– Claudia Vitalievna, I have no one in the whole wide world except my godmother. You are also lonely, let me visit you and help you as needed.
But the woman did not answer, she pressed Sophia’s chest and froze, listening to her daughter’s heartbeat.
“Yes, Sonechka,” Claudia Vitalievna finally answered, “I will look forward to your arrival, because we are almost family people.
Since then, Sofia began to visit Claudia Vitalievna often, and soon they sold their housing together and bought a spacious house, where they settled together. Sonya fell in love with a woman like her own mother, and Claudia Vitalievna seemed to have found her daughter anew. Her life was filled with meaning again.
It will take quite a bit of time and Sofia will fall in love and get married and a cheerful, children’s laughter will sound in their house. That’s how, thanks to Polina, Sofia will find a family, and Claudia Vitalievna a daughter and beloved grandchildren.