A Chunk Of Me

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Your ailing wife will live on two conditions :- Either you die or kill a third person whom you're kind to and have no reason to kill. What would you choose? "A Chunk Of Me" is a story of a man's
struggle to save his wife, amidst an abyss of hopelessness and confusion. This book delves into a psyche of a broken man. Wanna know what happened in the end? Read on to know.

Submitted: June 28, 2018

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Submitted: June 28, 2018

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Joseph Theobald had never expected such to happen. That he would be caressing his wife's dry hands with his moistened ones, just disengaged from wiping her tears off, in a hospital and sitting by her bed, with tubes protruding out of her veins unto a frightening dialyzer equipment, was a dream that was most unwelcome. Though a donor could restore their life, erstwhile and ever wished to be full of bliss and satiety, they couldn't evade thinking of the worst. That hefty machine seemed to suck out more than just waste from his wife's blood, everyday.

"Number twenty, Come in, please." and verifying those two utterly legible digits on his ticket with unwanted scrutiny, Joseph stood up to visit Dr. Morene Galinin, beyond a glass door that was a couple of steps ahead.

 "Thank you for coming, Mr. Joseph. Pray have a seat." The chair was rendered the weight very gradually and the sitter was facing the doctor with a slight pant in his breath.

"I thought you shouldn't be left unwary of the situation on our side and umm...." The nephrologist seemed to sum up the guts and eventually warded off her momentary hesitation, "I hope you will understand that your wife's blood group is too rare to be found in a donor."

 Having said this, she reclined back on her office chair with an imperceptible sigh and looked at him with a sight of atonement. "We tried our best to meet the requirements, but...... I hope you understand, Sir.", she ended in a whisper.

 "It's alright, doctor. I understand." and he just thanked her with the widest smile his state could allow.

A slight season of paucity in a dish called youth was a perfect mien for grief and Joseph seemed to sprinkle his own with some. Sanguinity lacked the power to revert all that had gone messy and was only an aid to a gloomy heart. Just like his car, he was trying to find a way out of the dark with headlights of Hope. But he soon knew Hope was a funny thing to tame, as it was no medicine for the imminence of a consequence. This same imminence didn't permit him to curse his haplessness. He thus chose to let the very moment arrive and feel everything thereupon.

Back home, his encumbered heart flung him onto a lounge and he was gazing at the only luminous thing in the room. The table lamp didn't inspire anything more than a sallow gleam in his eyes. Or perhaps, it did. Some flickering thought pulled him out of the sofa and led him to his almirah. Rummaging through his clothes, he found his personal folder in the dim of that corner of the room. He retraced back to the lounge and bathing that folder's contents in the light, prepared an envelope to put them into. It seemed that the seasoned dish was now neutralized with vitality and Hope was back under its leash. He dialed a number. "Hello Dr. Galinin...We've found a donor. I am bringing you his reports.....Yes.....Thank you."

Dr. Galinin had opened the envelope, but she got annoyed after seeing the name on the reports.

 "This isn't a joke, Mr. Joseph. We've talked about this earlier. This is strictly not allowed."

 "Why? You already have a matching kidney and you have the donor's permission as well." Joseph was placid this early morning.

 "Why don't you understand, Sir? This is no option!" Dr. Galinin seemed to lose her calm.

 "This operation is very important for me, doctor.", He asserted.

 "This is sheer murder!", Morene shouted, banging her cabin table. Having realized her  temper had grown worse, she sat back onto her chair, wheezing and took her time to relax. "Please excuse me, Mr. Joseph.", she rearranged her paraphernalia on the table. "We still have much time. We better find a donor with two kidneys.", Morene was gazing at Joseph's torpid face. She had to be human to explain him, she felt.

She held his hand reposed on the table. "I understand your plight, Sir....But, you see, we cannot 'kill' anyone. That is unethical."

 "But you have my consent." Joseph had grown strong in his tone.

 "But what's your crime? The only legal killing is that of a murderer."

 "By not operating my wife, you are killing her. What is her crime?"

 Morene couldn't answer. She had no choice but to reiterate. "I understand your plight, Sir, but we have no choice."

She suddenly perceived a morbid serenity on his face. "If that's so, then let the donor become a murderer. Then, I hope, you'll allow the kidney to be pulled off and used." Joseph said coldly and rose to go.

"What do you mean? Stop being foolish, Sir!". But the glass door was swinging about and her voice had no ears to fall upon by then. She chased him out of her clinic down the vista, but his car was too quick. She realized the inappropriateness of her last statement, but she was just trying to be logical.

 

Joseph had acquaintances in almost every part of the town. So he decided to drive out of the city and halt his car at the sight of the first stranger he would come across, a stranger that would induce no feelings of compassion in him. He prepared himself, feeling the cold metal of the pistol in his jacket's inner pocket, with the image of his wife's pale face void of a smile, that he would flash in his mind to subdue any emotion that restrains him. He kept telling himself that teardrops of his beloved were more agonizing than oozing blood of some bloke. But that misplaced sense of self-righteousness was weakening him. The more he thought, the weaker he would become. So impetuously, he pressed the stereo button. Music drained his mind.

No sooner did he observe a man sitting on a bench at a roadside petrol pump than the wheels ceased to move. He pushed the door open and took out his cell-phone. He had to be quick- Thoughts of Morality could change his mind any time. He dialed a number, pressed the call button and shoved it back in his pocket. His gait was forceful and so was his gaze, forceful enough to catch attention. Yes, he wanted people to witness. He wanted to be punished for what he was going to do.

 The man at the bench was reading a newspaper. He stood before the man, with his hand inside the jacket. "I am sorry." he whispered just before he saw the newspaper unveil a face- A known face.

 "Mr. Joseph! So good to see you.", the face brightened and the guy thrust a hand forward. Joseph's hand was still in the pocket and there was some seeming shock in his still eyes. The man didn't mind not getting a handshake.

 "So you are married now. Good thing you must be having a blissful life.", the man's eyes were sparkling with the gleam of the marriage ring on Joseph's partially unveiled hand. He didn't seem to be a chum- possessive, demanding and informal- but possessed a tone of reverence and gratitude, like the one who was helped in need and thus, indebted.

 

The police siren was audible from the nearby road and soon, the police vehicle stopped by.

"Is there any problem, gentlemen? We got a call from here."

 "Nothing has met our eyes so far, Sergeant. It's still a bright, calm sunny day.", the man replied with ease.

 "Alright. Have a nice day, gentlemen." and the policemen got a swift, obedient nod thereupon.

The police car was nowhere to be seen, when the man returned to Joseph. "It's been a long time, isn't it? I work here. You should partake of something. Come...."

 "That's very kind of you, Phil, but, no thanks." Joseph had been feeling awkward since he first saw his face.

 "I have to serve you in any way, Sir. It would be a shame if I do not be kind to the one who has gifted me Life." He said smilingly. "I have to do something for you. Please, order."

 And he was ordered, "Forget me, Phil. Never remember me." Joseph walked back towards his car.

***

Tiny strips of sunlight poked his face and glistened his scanty tears as he sat at a pew in the Sainte Valerie's Church. The most considerate Savior was looking dryly in some other direction. Some hasty footsteps broke the apparently indomitable silence and Joseph pivoted back to see Father Sullivan gazing him, anon to assert an imperative- "Did I make you wait too much, Son? I had to go to the belfry for some fixes to the bell. You have something to confess, dear?", Joseph, in too perplexing a predicament, demanded too much time for a reply. Nevertheless, Fr. Sullivan sat next to him.

A teardrop fell onto Joseph's lap and the trouser absorbed the trickle thereupon. The priest felt it a natural gesture to place his hand upon his shoulder. "Tell me son and take calm. Our Lord cannot bear tears. He is bound to relieve you."

 "I want to save my wife, Father. She needs treatment.", said Joseph, sulking.

"Do not worry, son! Our dear Christ has his warm hand over her. She will be fine." However, this consolation could only let Joseph cry more. "No, Father! Charity cannot be puny Man's job! I let a kidney to a needy unknown and am thus punished for this uncanny sin. And no one is allowing my wife to have the other kidney I have and live further. I realize, Father," and Joseph stood with a fanatic's panache "that I was perhaps foolishly trying to imitate Lord, for such a curse has befallen upon me!" "That's not true! He rose for us to grow great and you have but sparked his cause further. You have done a great deed, the kind He ordains!"

 "Then may I kill myself, so that I can give her the kidney, Father?" This sudden question obviously stunned the priest a little. His spontaneity was lost now. He just stood by Joseph. A long silence ensued.

Eventually, he quoted-" God will always love you, son. But remember ....", his gaze becoming sterner with queer certainty and assurance, "....that after you die, the Satan shall keep whipping you hard for killing yourself, but if your deed saves a life, Lord would keep curing your bruises as they show up. So you won't be damned, but won't be blessed either. The book says nothing about your condition, but logically, that would happen."

"Thank You, Father. I now know what I'll do." and, standing up, Joseph passed through the aisle outside.

 

***

Back home, Joseph was looking at his gun in his hand. His eyes had now adopted a glimmer resembling that of the silvery metal. The gush of his breath and the beat of his heart were now so slow and inaudible that one's bound to doubt if he's still breathing. It looked as if he didn't need the sound of his heart anymore to feel alive.

The bleak smile that had brightened his face was a response to the essence of life he could feel now. He was away from his senses, from the existence of all worldly. The muzzle of his gun was finally touching his chin.

 

***

 

Morene Galinin rushed to the Daffodil Hospital mortuary to look at the body of Phil Green, a kindling of hope smoldering inside her.

"His kidney matches our requirement and his family has allowed us to borrow it.", the Head Surgeon informed Morene and handed her the autopsy reports of the dead.

"Cause of demise: Internal Tissue Damage and Hemorrhage from Motor Vehicle Accident.

She checked his medical history.

"Formerly diagnosed with Stage 5 CKD.

Remedial Measure: Kidney Transplantation Surgery."

"He was donated the kidney", Morene said aloud the revelation. She perused further to dig out the details- The date and the time of the surgery, the hospital taking the charge and the donor, whose name was reported as "Joseph Theobald".

 She dialed Joseph's number. No Response.

She kept dialing, but her calls weren't answered. Few hours later, she knew why and that left her grieved.

 

Weeks later, she was still confused about how to tell the newly convalesced widow the news.

 

***


© Copyright 2018 Akshay Rawal. All rights reserved.

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