In one day:
Two thousand lives.
Three hundred livers.
Five hundred pancreases.
Six hundred kidneys.
Miles of intestine.
Eight hundred eyes.
A necropolis of bone.
A river of blood.
One hundred hearts.
Two thousand lives. In one day, my son had saved more people than I could in a hundred straight days of hunting down criminals with iron fists.
The day my son cut his hand instead of an apple, I was the happiest father in the world. Because when he held his palms towards me, there I saw only a red stain on unbroken skin.
My child will never be harmed---I was bursting with so much joy, I let him forgo school and spend the entire day in the sky. He gripped my shoulders tight as I attempted to fly as high as I felt.
Then, on his twelfth birthday, his school bus crashed. When I got to the hospital, he hugged me tightly and told me everyone survived.
Then, he said he had met the world and it was bleeding, and he knew the best way he could help.
The doctors called the initial tests "a phenomenal success." Everything grafted with a one hundred percent success rate with no risk of transmitting any disease---he was a universal donor.
Then, they informed me of what my son had not.
His condition made it difficult to keep his body in an operable state long enough for the acquisition process; they had to invent new machinery for the sole purpose
of continuously cutting him open. And, because his body metabolizes anesthesia too quickly, he has to fully suffer every pain in the torturously long surgery process.
At length, my boy tried to hide from me that he intended to spend the rest of his life in a permanent state of agonizing surgery, forsaking food, sleep, companionship,
and all coherent thought about anything besides pain, for the benefit of strangers, who won't even know that he exists.
When the trial run ended, and my son walked out of that room, alive but gaunt, and more exhausted than anyone should ever be, I embraced him like I would never let go.
He weakly choked out a joke about me breaking his bones and I made a noise somewhere between a sob and a laugh. Despite the tears in our eyes, we smiled. I gripped him tighter.
Over his shoulder I caught a glimpse of the machine, a monstrosity of wires and crooked metal joints tipped with gleaming points and spinning blades; I saw a faint blue glow of fire.
I knew that images of that machine tearing into my son, as he struggled not to whimper, the way he does, would forever haunt me at night.
I asked him a question. He answered, his voice stronger than what should have been possible.
I looked once more into that room. Then I gazed into my boy's unwavering eyes.
One hundred hearts.
I let him go.