A Different Kind Of Heart – A Short Story

The doctor had never seen anything like it. 

She was a perfectly healthy little girl, who just happened to have two hearts. When the mother, shocked to hear about her daughter’s second heart, asked why such a thing could occur, the doctor only shook his head and shrugged. 

The girl, Anna, also looked shocked, although she seemed equally confused as well. Surely, in all her 8 years of life, they would have known about a second heart?

The doctor seemed to have read Anna’s mind because at that moment the doctor began to explain why they hadn’t found the heart earlier. 

“Because of new technology, we are finally able to make an in-depth search through the human body, where else before it was a lot harder and expensive to do so”

Explained the doctor, sounding very professional.

Anna nodded because this seemed like a reasonable answer. 

After a long stay at the hospital, which involved multiple X-rays and lots of doctors examining her, Anna and her mother were free to leave the hospital, with another appointment scheduled the next day or so.

***

Once they arrived home, Anna went straight to the mirror. She looked at her long, wavy blond hair, her shiny blue eyes, and her favourite pink t-shirt that was a tad too small. But mostly, she started at the left part of her chest, where her two hearts were located. She thought her heart looked normal but she wasn’t too sure. Was it just her mind playing tricks on her? What if wasn’t her mind tricking her and the kids at school laughed? What if no one wanted to be her friend anymore?

Anna was a good student. She received good grades, all the teachers liked her, and she almost never needed help with assignments. And so for these reasons, Anna generally enjoyed school. But Anna was not looking forward to school tomorrow, and the worse her “what ifs” became, the less she wanted to show up in 4th grade tomorrow morning. 

***

“ANNA, TIME FOR SCHOOL,” her mother yelled from downstairs. Anna’s mother didn’t usually have to yell at Anna to get ready because Anna was always up early. But Anna was dreading the day ahead so she stubbornly stayed in bed until her mother had to come up to her room and yank the covers off of her.

Dreadingly, Anna went to school, mentally prepared for teasing, name-calling, and rude words. But, to Anna’s happy surprise, no one noticed anything. Anna was relieved, and went through the day like any other, playing with her friends and completing worksheets.

Later in the day after lunch while Anna was busy drawing for her art project, she heard her name called on the school’s P.A system, telling her to come to the office. Anna knew it must have something to do with her heart, so she left for the office right away. Anna’s mother was waiting for Anna in the office when she finally arrived.

“Did they find anything about my heart?” Anna asked eagerly.

“I would think so,” replied Anna’s mother, sounding tired.

After a short car ride, Anna and her mother had arrived at the hospital, and Anna was feeling anxious to find out what was wrong with her heart. As they walked down the grey-ish blue hallways, Anna became more and more nervous. What if she had a crazy disease that could kill her? What if she had to lose a limb? 

Before Anna’s thoughts could get any scarier, they found the door they were looking for and went in.

“Hello! Great to see both of you again! How are you? Come in, come in,” said the doctor with a big smile.

Anna wasn’t sure if she was happy to see the doctor again, but she didn’t want to come across as rude so she replied, “I’m good, thanks.”

After the doctor asked some more questions, he sat Anna and her mother down and told them he had figured out the mystery about Anna’s heart.

“What did you find out?” Anna asked, bursting with a newfound curiosity she hadn’t known she possessed.

“Well, I was getting to that,” replied the doctor, slightly annoyed.

Anna nodded and let him explain.

 

***

“OK, well, basically your “normal” heart is for what a normal heart does- pump blood, keep you alive, keep you warm. And the other heart is making you a more kind, generous, open-minded person. Now my team and I haven’t had a chance to learn why and how this happened, we just know what the second heart is used for. Anna, you are a very lucky girl, and you should use your gift carefully.” 

Anna felt numb with shock and relief!

Kindness power? Anna certainly hadn’t considered that option, but she gladly accepted it. And now that she knew what her heart was for, she couldn’t wait to go to school and try out her power. Anna’s mother was smiling too, clearly happy and relieved about her daughter’s heart as well.

The doctor smiled at Anna and her mother and they both smiled back.

“Thank you, doctor,” Anna’s mother said, her eyes filling with tears as she extended her arm for the doctor to shake.

“You’re most certainly welcome,” the doctor replied, taking Anna’s mother’s hand and shaking it back.

Anna figured she should say something too, so she said smiling, “thanks for all your hard work!”

 The doctor smiled back and gave Anna a high-five. “Have a good day!”

***

At school the next day, Anna used her new heart to help around the classroom. When her teacher asked for volunteers to help with the whiteboard, Anna’s hand shot up into the air as fast as lightning, and when one of her friends got hurt, she helped her walk to the office to get some ice. 

But the funny thing was, whenever she did these deeds, she could feel her second heart spread warmth throughout her body as if it was encouraging her to be kind. Anna was always a caring, thoughtful child, but now with her heart she super kind!

Once Anna got home from a day full of kindness spreading, she sat down on her bed in her room, deep in thought. It seemed crazy to her that only a few days ago she was scared she would die. Now, she was proud, relieved, and excited. Everyone loved how much more thoughtful she was and her stronger willingness to help others. 

Anna decided she would this way for her whole life, even if her second heart disappeared! 

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