I wrote this short story about a year and a half ago, during my last semester of undergrad in the Creative Writing class I took. How do you interpret the story?
I’ve misplaced my heart, he tells me.
“Men are always losing things.” I chuckle. “Look in your closet, or under the stack of papers on your desk. Do you remember who you saw it with last?”
But he’s serious. I can tell by the way his face hardens a bit, the way he reaches for my hand over the kitchen table. After disbelief, I am pleased that he considers me up to the job. He who is so eager to consult his loved ones in every aspect of his life—parents, siblings, best friends. He says I know his heart best and I am good with the details of its content. Rubbing my shoulder, he says, “I have such faith in you.”
I know I had his heart last, but I cannot remember where I placed it. I begin searching my purse, closet, and pockets, but it is nowhere in sight. I cannot think of anywhere else to look, and after a few hours I give up and I decide to continue reading the newspaper, instead. He joins me after a couple of minutes and we sit together for hours conversing about everything including the first day we met, a mere thirteen months ago. I have never seen this side of him before and I wonder if I like him better heartless. We continue the day eating ice cream as he listens to me tell him the secrets of my inner heart.
Surprised that he put up with the activities that men usually hate, I smile and wait to receive the same from him. Immediately, I notice this ignites a spark in him and instead of a warm smile, his suddenly cold and monstrous eyes give me a bewildered look. By the agonizing expression on his face, I know he is angry because he remembered that his heart is still lost. Guilt creeps up on me because I know that I am responsible for his loss. He trusted me, and I betrayed the man with the lost heart.
He looks at me with dazed eyes and tells me that I abused his heart. I start to speak, but his face turns a bright crimson like the ruby around my neck. Then, all at once, it begins. His heartlessness takes control of him and he begins yelling at me to find his heart. I want to calm him down and reassure him that his heart somewhere around here, but somehow we both know that I am lying. The pain of my guilt, paired with his grief paralyzes my rationalizing instincts. I am terrified. How could I be so careless as to lose something so important to him? I just want to close my eyes and wake up from this horrid dream. So I close and close and wish and plead with myself to believe this is untrue, but when I open my eyes and look straight into his, I see the damage I have done and I know that I am the monster. I betrayed him and I stole from him the only thing he had been so careful to preserve and the only thing he was so cautious to give away.
I know nothing else, so I begin to run. I look back only once to see the sadness in his eyes and I feel in myself something evil growing. I can’t do anything else. There is only one person that would know what to do in a situation like this one.
As the cottage comes into view, I can see, more intricately, the smooth texture of the brown stones and how they fit together perfectly. I think back to all the times I had gotten in trouble as a kid and Grandma had bailed me out. I know this is my only safe haven and the thought of that makes me run quicker towards security. As I reach the narrow walkway, I hesitantly touch the cold door handle before turning it. I am so relieved that I made it here safely and that soon all of my troubles will go away. But as I open the door and look around the kitchen, I notice a change in the cottage. Though the furniture is the same and the décor has not changed, there is a different vibe than the one of comfort that I have grown to know. As I enter the nook outside of Grandma’s room I smell a faint odor of formaldehyde. I call out her name, in panic, but the only reply is the sound of my own echo. Then as I enter the room, I notice her bed is replaced by a surgical table—like the ones found in hospital operation rooms—and on it lay a pounding heart. I stare at it in fear trying to organize my thoughts and process the happenings of the world around me. Before I have the chance to think, Grandma comes in from behind me with blood spattered all over her pink kitchen apron, and asks, ever so pleasantly, “Is something the matter, dear?”
© 2012 TeaPromise. All Rights Reserved.