Burning heart, p.1
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       Burning Heart, p.1

           Walter Morales
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Burning Heart
Burning Heart

  By Walter Morales

  Published by Walter Morales

  Copyright © Walter Morales, 2014

  All Rights Reserved.

  All characters appearing in this work are fictitious, and product of the writer’s imagination. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.


  Chapter 1: The Fire Chief

  Chapter 2: The Best Friend

  Chapter 3: The Doctor

  Chapter 4: Lina

  Chapter 5: Dad

  Chapter 6: The Doctor

  Chapter 7: Mom

  Chapter 8: Lina

  Chapter 9: Miss Hernandez

  About the author

  The Fire Chief

  My name is Robert O’Neal and I’m the city’s chief for the Fire Training Bureau. I remember when I first met Lina, I remember her because all the candidates had to be within the premises at ten o’clock since the written exam started at half past ten but she was there at nine o’clock. So approached her, “punctuality, that’s a good start miss.”

  “Good morning officer… sorry, I mean firefighter… or fireman...” she was nervous.

  “It’s ok, you can call me Robert, call me chief when you past the tests. What’s your name?”

  “I’m Lina Meyers, sir, sorry, I mean Robert.”

  “Why are you so nervous?”

  “Because I didn’t study, well, actually I didn’t know what to study.”

  I explained to her how the written exam works, and she calmed down a little bit. Since it was early we had a little conversation and she told me about her friends, about her dream to become a firefighter and that her prom was in one week.

  “So, within how many days is the next step?” She asked.

  “The next step in the process is the physical ability test or PAT as we call it and you’ll get a date for it once you complete your written exam. Chances are that you take the PAT one month from now.”

  “Nice, so I got a training month ahead,” she said. As we spoke, I noticed a bandage on her ankle.

  “What happened?” I asked, pointing at her leg.

  She told me about some pains that she was having, that probably was due an old basketball injury, and that she was waiting for some tests results. By then the hallway was crowded already and I left her there.

  Four hours later I saw her leaving. “Five weeks!” she told me. Then she left riding a scooter. She was 18, so young, so happy and so confident about what she wanted to be. I remember myself thinking, man, I hope my little girls grow up looking at role models like her.

  The best friend.

  I’m Bethany, aka “The hottest girl in the class of 2013,” no seriously, I’m Lina’s best friend ever. We are friends since forever. I met her at a Jonas Brothers concert, oh God, we where such fans back in the day! We where at elementary, our moms were friends so we spent three hours waiting in line listen to our moms talking about Tupperware, hello! How boring is that? Anyways, we became best friends making fun of them. Oh God, that was awesome.

  I remember the day when she took that written test to join the fire department. She was so freaking happy about it. I was with my b…, girls, I was walking with my girls (sorry) walking through the mall when I saw it! A beautiful purple dress just like my Lina likes them, not so sexy yet provocative, she is weird and picky let me tell you that, and I love her as she is, don’t get me wrong.  I was like, Oh my God, Lina haven’t bought her dress from the prom yet, I got to tell her about this beauty, so I call her a few times and she didn’t answer. Then like forever later, three hours later actually, my phone rings.

  “Baby, where have you been all this time?” I said.

  “Beth! Oh my God, really? Fourteen missed calls! You are crazy!” She was trying to sound angry about the missed calls but she sounded very happy.

  “Hashtag stalker baby! How was your exam? Are you a firefighter already?”

  “No, not yet, this is just the beginning of a very long, long, long process. Where are you? I really need to clear my mind right now.”

  “Well, we are at the mall. Are you coming or what?”

  “Yeah, wait… Did you left a voice mail?” she asked.

  “Ew girl, am I your grandma or something? Who still uses the voice mail?”

  “Wait, it’s from my mom, I’ll call you later, bye!” and she hung up on me. Later I got a text from her telling me about her tests results. And that’s when things got ugly.

  The Doctor.

  My name is Ari Yahalom and I have been the family doctor for the Meyers for the past twelve years. I know Lina since she was a little girl, I remember how curious she was, and how she was always making a lot of questions about my culture. I really enjoyed answering those questions and telling her stories about my country. She visited me constantly during her childhood because she was always climbing threes, hunting frogs, riding her bike in the woods and doing dangerous things like that.

  I really hate to be the bad guy in this type of situations. I don’t like to give bad news, and especially when it comes to young people that I care about. It was a Saturday morning when I received the email with the results of Lina’s tests, and since they are friends of mine I didn’t wait until Monday; I called Martha right away.

  A couple of weeks before, I had Lina in the clinic because she had been having an ongoing pain on her right ankle. The first X-Rays didn’t show anything unusual so I decided to make another round of tests trying to discard the worst-case scenarios. Sadly, one of the results came back showing that there was a growing Osteosarcoma in Lina’s heel. Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer and when chemotherapy doesn’t work, the best course of action is to amputate the affected limb in order to avoid a metastasis.

  You know that something bad is coming when the doctor asks you to be in his office on a Saturday afternoon. Lina was already crying when they entered to the office. Her mother Martha was trying to be strong for her but she had a bad feeling, I could tell by the look in her eyes. I explained the results and after a very painfully and quiet moment, Lina broke the silent and asked me about what would happen. I explained to them the whole chemotherapy process and that we needed to start as soon as possible.

  “But I need to be in shape for my PAT, is in five weeks!” Said Lina, she was very worry about that exam.

  “Honey, I’m not sure if you…” replied Martha.

  “Don’t even say that mom!”

  Honestly I didn’t know what they were talking about so I had to ask, “What is a PAT Lina?”

  “Is the physical ability test that I need to complete in…”

  “Oh yes, yes I know, I know. Well, Lina, let’s hope for the best, we could be seeing results in a couple of weeks. The thing is that the pain is not going to disappear right away, and the chemotherapy is not just another simple treatment. I mean, you will lose weight and strength during this process.”

  I hated seeing them like that. Holding each other’s hand and crying. I gave them water and left the office so they could have a moment alone. I went to the next room to pray for them.


  I ran into my room, locked the door, and with my face sunk in a lot of pillows, I screamed as loud as I could. I remember my mom knocking, Bethany’s voice coming from the hallway and my phone ringing. It was a hell, it was a nightmare, it was the kind of desperation that you feel when you are drowning. Believe me I know that, I was drowning in a lake long time ago when I was eight.

  I was on the dock watching my reflection on the water when I had this stupid impulse of getting closer to my reflection. It feels horrible, I couldn’t breath, I didn’t know how to get back to the surface, I couldn’t scream and I was just making things worse moving my arms and l
egs so fast and desperate. I didn’t know what to do and felt like if my life was fading away. That’s exactly the way I felt that day on my bed crying because I just learned that I wouldn’t be able to fulfill my dream. Back in the lake, I felt my dad’s arm pulling me out of the water, and that’s what I wanted to feel in that moment, a hand pulling me out of that horrible reality where my dream was fading away.

  I heard my mom talking with my dad over the phone, at least this made them talk to each other again, I thought. I just remember that I cried until I fell sleep.

  I woke up a couple of hours later; there was a glass of milk and some cookies over my nightstand. I didn’t open the door for my mom, did I? Somehow she managed to enter or maybe she just used the keys or something, it didn’t matter. When I opened my eyes I tried to convince myself that everything had been nothing but a bad dream, but then I walked outside my room and I heard my mom crying in the living room, Beth was there too and my aunt I guess, I don’t remember well. So it was real, I walked back to my bed and sat thinking about this awful mess.
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