With a heavy heart, Chioma folded the Queen’s clothes and tossed them into a traveling bag.
The Queen had refused to leave her son’s side. She’d sent Chioma to fetch her belongings from her room.
Esther sauntered into the room. “How is the Prince faring?”
“Not good,” Chioma said. “A heart transplant will be done tomorrow.”
Esther touched her chest. “Oh God. But thank God they found a donor.”
Chioma turned to look at her. “And guess who the donor is.”
“How am I supposed to know that?” Esther asked.
“It’s Miriam,” Chioma said.
Confusion washed over Esther. “What do you mean it’s Miriam?”
“Miriam willingly gave her heart to the Prince,”
Chioma explained. Tears flowed out of her eyes. “The surgery will take place tomorrow, so tomorrow is the last day we will get to see her again.”
“You’re not serious, are you?” Esther asked. “Here I am complaining that Amara left and now you’re telling me that Miriam is also leaving.”
“Amara left?” Chioma asked. “I don’t understand. She left the palace?”
“Yes o,” Esther said. “She just left. She even left her resignation letter with me without seeing the Queen.”
“This is serious,” Chioma said.
“I really don’t understand why Miriam will give him her heart,” Esther said.
“She loves him,” Chioma said. “She wants him to be alive and well.”
“My Prince, please just hang on for a while,” Miriam said, kneeling by Michael’s side as he lay unconscious in bed. “I know it’s not easy, but please just stay strong for me and all will be well.”
She loved him so much that she felt his pain as hers. And although she was a nobody, he loved her just as much. Very soon, the surgery would take place, and his pain would be no more.
By this, she’d show gratitude for all he’d done for her. For him she’d happily embrace death. She didn’t regret her decision and never would. She would give up her life a million times just to save him.
Holding his hand, she sobbed silently.
“When you wake up, please don’t be too hard on yourself, and don’t blame yourself, because I made this decision myself. Please don’t blame anyone either, I beg you. You were right the day you said I was a mermaid. I’m sorry I never got to tell you the truth about my identity. I was scared that you would hate me, but now I know you wouldn’t have hated it. I’m so sorry for hiding it from you.
“It pains me to say goodbye, but I just have to. I will always love you, even in death. I believe that you will find a better woman, but please don’t forget me completely. Even though I’m gone, I will always be here, and you will see me. More love from me to you. I miss you.”
She concluded the letter she had been writing and sealed it with a kiss.
“I will miss you,” she heard Chioma say.
Sniffing back her tears, she turned to look at her. “I didn’t know you were here.”
A weeping Esther dragged herself into the room. She embraced Miriam and sobbed on her shoulders. “I’ll miss you so much.”
Miriam patted Esther’s back. “Esther, please, stop crying. It’s okay. Please, you have to be strong.”
Esther came out of the embrace. “I know. I’ll try. But it won’t be easy. We came to say goodbye. I will miss that beautiful smile of yours. I always wondered what was the secret behind the smile, but now I know that behind that beautiful smile of yours is a sorrowful and wounded girl who needed help.
We are sorry for finding out too late, but I hope you know we love you and will miss you terribly.”
“I love you girls too, and I will always be around even though you can’t see me,” Miriam said.
The doctor walked into the room. “Are you ready?”
“Yes I am,” Miriam replied.
“Are you sure this is what you want?” he asked.
“There is still time to change your mind.”
Miriam shook her head. Changing her mind wasn’t an option. “I have never been more sure of anything else in my life.”
She moved to the Prince and gave him one last kiss. Her tears plopped down on his cheek. Tentatively, she pulled away.
“Ready?” the doctor said. Miriam nodded, and he led her outside the room, where Tony and the Queen awaited them.
“My daughter, thank you for what you are about to do,” the Queen said, hugging Miriam. “I don’t know how to repay you for this, but I promise you one thing: everyone will always remember you for this.”
“Miriam, thank you,” Tony said. “I know it won’t be easy for him to accept this, but I will make him understand.”
Miriam smiled at him. “Thanks, Tony. That really means a lot to me.”
She handed him the letter. “Please give him this. I think it will also help. Goodbye, everyone.”
Waving everyone goodbye, she followed the doctor to the theatre. The door closed behind them.
After four hours that seemed like forever, the doctor returned to the people eagerly awaiting him.
He smiled broadly. “Operation successful.”