“You’ll reach the facility in time to wish her a good surgery!” the flight nurse yelled.
Gavin felt his gut implode. The night air cooled his face, and his shirt collars whipped in submission to the chopper’s blades. He held on to the litter railing a bit longer.
“I’ll see you in a few hours,” he said close to Sayaka’s ear.
See you later, she mouthed, rather than fight the high-pitched whir of the engine.
“We have to go!” the flight nurse said.
Gavin nodded, kissed his girlfriend, took in her tired eyes and thinned dark hair, then walked several yards away from the helipad. He removed the gigantic metal earmuffs he’d worn.
“She’s ready,” he said, as he approached Sayaka’s parents and sisters.
Mrs. Okazaki placed an arm around his trunk, and pulled him closer. As they watched the helicopter ascend and hover, Gavin’s mind tumbled back to that day, several weeks ago.
Lindsay hovered at his desk for the third time. He tried to contain a sigh with a smile. “Yes?”
“The textbook didn’t say anything about the Bureau of Indian Affairs,” she whispered.
“No. But I mentioned the BIA in my lectures.”
“Why don’t you ponder the question a bit longer?”
“Okay...” She shuffled back to her seat.
His shoulder jerked when the classroom phone rang. He hurried to answer before the next ring.
“305. Yes, this is Reece. Sure, put her through.” He walked into the hallway and turned the door. “Hey, Sayaka. Honey—honey. Slow down, sweetie, I can’t understand you.... What!” His knees weakened. “Cancer?” he whispered, the word hot on his tongue.
It became a haunting dragon, an image that helped Sayaka battle chemotherapy. From the start, she knew she’d need surgery; even though their hearts bled, her parents hesitated.
“We can’t afford it,” Rieko told Gavin. “We’d give everything for her if it would be enough.” Tears shimmered at the corners of her eyes.
“My friends and I are brainstorming. Donnie and the other guys at the firehouse want to try having an auction.”
Many mishaps later, they walked away from a mediocre event with two hundred dollars. Their car wash suffered a downpour, and the bake sale at Donnie’s church produced little.
“Right,” Gavin replied to Donnie’s comment. “And the gods will miraculously send Zeus to cure Sayaka’s cancer.” He sat in the firehouse kitchen with his three best friends, Donnie, Lou, and Evan.
“Gavin.” Donnie gave him a look.
“Look, I’ve been praying about this. God is going to amaze you. Watch and see.”
“I’ve been going to temple with Sayaka’s parents.”
“You going to become Buddhist now?” Evan asked.
“I’m going with them for moral support, guys.”
“That’s cool. But Donnie’s right. God’s gonna wow you,” Lou said.
One week after their conversation, Gavin had just sat down for brunch when his phone rang.
“Hello? Hey hon—what? You’re kidding me. That’s fantastic! She called you herself this morning? Wow. Do you want me to come? Okay. Love you too.”
Someone had informed Dr. Lillian “Liv” Winters about Sayaka. Dr. Winters worked at a top oncology research facility in Chicago. The facility offered to take Sayaka’s case pro bono. All expenses would be covered. The doctor planned to fly to Toronto at the end of the week to meet Sayaka.
Now, Gavin stared at the chopper lights blinking in the distance. He glanced at his watch. “We should get going,” he said to Mr. Okazaki. Donnie and his church friends wanted to have a short prayer meeting with them before they left for their red-eye flight.
“The Lord will fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:14, KJV
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