“Heart to Heart”
“How’s the calendar looking for the new year, Deanna?” Jeanine, my boss at the Community Center, stopped by my desk, a steaming mug of her morning coffee in hand.
“Good,” I said. “In fact, I wanted to talk to you about having an event for National Wear Red Day. It’s the first Friday in February, to raise awareness for women’s heart health. I thought I’d check into getting a speaker from the hospital.”
“Sounds great.” Jeanine nodded. “Email me a proposal and we’ll make it happen.”
The hospital recommended a cardiac care nurse named Liam Drake, and he returned my call the same afternoon. “Why do you want to have an event for Wear Red Day?” he asked.
“I talk to lots of the women who come into the Community Center. They’re usually here with their kids, which is fine, but when I recommend they look at classes for themselves, they usually say they don’t have time because they’re just so busy. I try never to miss one of our evening yoga sessions, and I’d like to see other women take good care of themselves, too.”
“That’s actually a topic really close to my heart.” Liam spoke quietly, and I heard a note of sadness in his voice. “My own mom passed away a few years ago. She’d just turned sixty-five. She always thought making her own health more of a priority was selfish, but if she had, she might still be with us.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry for your loss.” I was touched by Liam’s willingness to share such a personal story with me.
“Thanks. After it happened, as a nurse, I decided I wanted to specialize in women’s cardiac care and get the word out whenever I could. Sometimes women don’t realize that they’re really the glue that really holds a family together.”
“We’ll be lucky to have you come speak to us. I’m sure your mother would be very proud of everything you do.”
On the evening of the event, our volunteers set up chairs in the large meeting room, and I looked forward to meeting Liam. As I arranged the speaker’s podium, a man about my age and with light brown hair came through the main doors. One of the volunteers directed him my way, and he strode toward me, shrugging off his heavy coat as he went, revealing crisp, bright-red hospital scrubs.
“Hi…Deanna?” His lips tugged up at the edges in a warm, friendly smile, revealing the cutest dimples. “I’m Liam.”
I took his offered hand and looked up into his dark eyes. A warm, pleasant feeling rippled through me at his touch. He held my hand a second longer than necessary before releasing it.
“This is a great space.” He glanced around. “Are you expecting a large group tonight? I brought extra pamphlets on heart health with me, just in case.”
“We put up flyers all around town and I’ve had a lot of RSVPs so, yes, I hoping for a full house.”
Blushing a little, I turned to see women of all ages, some with their families, coming in and finding seats. Like me, many of them sported red sweaters or jackets to support Wear Red Day. “We’re supposed to start in about ten minutes. Will that give you enough time to set up?”
I stepped away, circling around the room to greet visitors. Once everyone was seated, I returned to the podium to thank them for coming out on such a cold February evening. I introduced Liam, turned the microphone over to him, and then found an empty chair at the back of the room.
His presentation was excellent, emphasizing the importance of proper nutrition, moderate exercise, stress management and regular checkups as keys to better heart health. When he finished, it took a while for the room to clear as women came by to pick up a pamphlet or ask Liam a question. He gave each one his full attention, charming them with his easy smile and ready laugh.
“I think we did a lot of good here tonight,” he said after the last person walked away. “Thanks for setting all this up, Deanna.”
“You’re very welcome. And I’m really sorry we ran long. I imagine your family is expecting you at home by now.”
“The only one waiting for me is my beta fish, Stanley, and he’s pretty flexible about when I come in. In fact, if no one’s waiting for you, I’d love to buy you dinner, or at least a cup of tea.”
I smiled as surprise and anticipation rushed through me at the idea of spending more time with such a smart and caring man as Liam. “That sounds lovely.”
“I know a great little café over on First Street,” he said. “They serve flavored herbal teas with these amazing dark chocolate wafers. Dark chocolate is good for the heart, you know.”
Chocolate, and a date with a handsome nurse? I could definitely see how both of those would be good for my heart. ❤