A Stranger in My Body

By Whitney Wetosi:

There is a stranger in my body. The stranger’s beats keep me alive, alive to witness beautiful sunsets and sunrises. The stranger was given to me on an operating table, put inside me to bring forth life, with its steady beats. A life was lost, so that mine could be saved. There is a stranger in my body, its beat reverberates all through my body, I can feel it palpitating at my neck. Let me tell you how I got to keep this stranger, how my body became one with it.

My life can be summed up simply as a miracle on a tightrope tethered to prayer. This is because I’m a miracle, my mother’s living miracle as she used to say. When I came into this world, doctors noticed something. Something so upsetting it sent my mother to her knees, praying while tears streamed down her cheeks. She prayed to the God she fully believed in to save my life, for a diagnosis had been made at that tender age. My heart was not fully functional, the doctor held out no hope for me.
As I grew up, we were in constant fear of my delicate heart finally letting up. My mother would constantly watch me like a hawk, I was her life. Despite my condition, I embraced life with such enthusiasm it left all amazed. I was a bundle of joy, a force to be reckoned with. My delicate heart however could not let me participate in tedious tasks and activities. I had a dream growing up, to one day run in a marathon. My mother would tell me to stop hoping too much, for we all knew if we did not find a donor, my life would be snuffed out, like a poorly lit candle against a strong gale of wind.
My heart was finally letting up.

It broke my heart to see my mother, the pain in her eyes without bounds. It broke my heart, I had so many dreams, so many things I wanted to do. I wanted to write a book, become a bestselling author, and sign autographs wherever I went. I dreamt of travelling, seeing the famous pyramids in Gaza, I wanted to go to Hawaii, leave alone Hawaii, I dreamt of the Indian Ocean in Mombasa, the feel of the white sand below my feet. I could almost hear the ocean waves lapping against my skin, the cathartic waves soothing and taking away all the pain I had felt throughout my life. But all those were just dreams, my doctor seemed to think that I would not last a year.

Then a miracle happened, something so wonderful it felt ethereal. A donor was found. Somebody somewhere was willing and ready to give up their heart so that I could live. My joy was out of this world. I was grateful, for the second chance at life that the universe was handing me. The new gift was handed over to me on an operating table in a level five hospital. I woke up to the steady beats of my new heart.
There is a stranger inside my body, one that I’m so glad is inside me. I now have another chance at living life to the fullest. Like a bird learning to fly, I can spread my wings beyond horizons I never knew I was capable of. There is a stranger inside my body, one whose beats keep me alive.

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Whitney Wetosi
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