With Every Beat of my Broken Heart
Ella hovered her mouse over the photo of Daniel. She frowned at the screen and refrained, simply gazing at the smaller picture. She saw how he leaned into the photo, and remembered his warm embrace. She thought of the last time she saw him, how his hands lingered around her shoulders before he finally let go. She could see him in her mind, asking her to do it again sometime. She remembered nodding and smiling as she reminded him that his car waited outside to bring him home. He waved goodbye and that was the end of it. That was the last time she had seen him.
She let out a sigh of longing as she recalled his rippling muscles twisting as he struggled to keep up with her at the rink. Skating; that was the last thing she did with him. A deep feeling of longing enveloped her heart as a tear slipped down her face. Why did life have to be so hard? It had all happened so quickly, and now she would never see him again. The man who had done everything for her, and she had ruined it all at the bat of an eyelash. It was over. She had to let him go. He had probably let her go. She would never see him again. Her guardian angel. There was nothing she could do about it. She swept the mouse over to the corner of the screen where she clicked out of the screen, ending her momentary suffering.
Daniel scrolled his way through the Facebook screen, searching for what he knew would only torture himself. When he found it, he stopped, running his hands through his hair and heaving a sigh. How long had it been? It seemed like forever since he had last seen Ella Bryn, but he knew it to be only two months because he had counted each day since he had received the news: he could not see her anymore. When he opened the text message on his phone, he had smiled, hoping for it to be one of the bright greetings that she always sent his way. What he found was much worse. A note telling him to leave her alone or else. A note telling him that no matter what he said or did, he would never see or hear from her again. He couldn’t. He did not know who the note was from, but whoever it was had found his weakest link. There was nothing he could do except wait. Wait for God to do something. And for all he knew, that would never happen. Maybe it was for the best that he never saw her again. After all, they could never be together. It just stood to reason. Her parents wouldn’t allow her to date, so them being near each other was really only hurting her.
These were the thoughts that ran through Daniel’s mind as he resolved to forget all about Ella Susan Bryn. He promised himself that that picture would be the last time that he would ever think of her. It was not his fault that he lied to himself, for the very next day, he received a phone call alerting him to the fact that Ella was in the Marcus Hospital and she was not likely to make it past the night. He grabbed his coat on the way down the stairs, calling to his mother that he would be out late.
When he arrived, he rushed to the front desk and agitatedly requested to be shown to Ella’s hospital room.
“What’s her name?”
“Ella Bryn. Could someone show me to her room? I am a close friend.”
The woman typed a couple words and picked up the phone, muttering monotonously into the speaker. She held up one finger to signal her business. Daniel hooked his thumbs in his pockets and blew a sigh into the air. He rolled his eyes before the lady finally told him her room address. Another nurse led him down the hallway, chatting his ear off as they went.
“Yeah, she’s a strange case, she is. There doesn’t really seem to be anything the matter with her. She just...lost the will to live, I suppose. And no one has come to visit her. She was brought in by this guy she didn’t even know, and you are the first one who has come to visit her. Not even family members. Here’s her room. What did you say your name was again? Daniel, right? Yeah, she was calling for a Daniel. That must have been why they called you in. She kept saying that while she was sleeping and when she awakened, we asked her who that was, and she just started crying. Poor girl. I’ll leave you two alone for a while. Take as much time as you need.”
Daniel entered the room and stood by her bed. Her chest gently rose and fell, her brow knit in a frown. From time to time, she groaned in her sleep, restlessly tossing and turning. Daniel took a seat and rested his hand on hers. He wanted to be there when she awoke.
Ella drifted through the blackness. When she saw a light in the distance, her instinct told her to walk the other way, but the light was so warm and soothing. When she walked into it, a man greeted her. He was tall and dark-haired and his eyes smiled along with his face.
“Dear child...” he said, spreading his arms wide, “Welcome to my kingdom.”
“Is this Heaven?” her voice seemed to pale in comparison to that of the great man that stood before her.
“Indeed it is, but you must go now, my child.”
He smiled gently at her, cupping her cheek in his hand.
“Yes, dear one.”
And with that, the light faded again into darkness, and Ella woke in a white room all hung with curtains and a dull pain throbbed in her wrist. She glanced down at the needle that pierced her skin. A shadow sat in the chair to her left, and a warmth flooded from it to her at the point where it touched her hand. She moaned and attempted to sit up. Her eyes lit up and she stroked his hand as she realized who it was.
Daniel sat up and groaned. He could feel a soft caress on his hand. He looked up. Ella was awake! He got down on his knees, and kissed her hand.
“Didn’t think you were gonna make it out of that one, princess. You gave me a scare for quite a bit.”
He nodded and a tear slipped down his face, falling on her cold hand.
Ella, too began to cry, and she reached, shivering for his warm embrace. He wrapped his arms tightly around her, and pulled his hands through her hair.
“What happened, sweatheart, what happened?”
She did not answer, only sobbed onto his shoulder. When the nurse came to check on Ella Bryn, she was fast asleep with a soldier sitting with her, his arm wrapped protectively around her.