I recently had a conversation in which someone gave me a rather detailed description of the workings of his chest cavity. What he described was pictured in my head as a Steampunky array of brass gears. In hearing this description, I realized that the way I’d always pictured the working of my own chest cavity wasn’t necessarily the way everybody pictured theirs. You’d think that would be obvious, but it’s one of those things you don’t really consider. My brain is usually full of other stuff; the things that haven’t gotten any thought just get rounded off.
I’ve always pictured my heart as a sort of Jello-like mass, thumping away in its own rhythm. Of COURSE the thing powering my blood is a dessert item. I’m a misplaced pixie, kicked out of the woods for cursing, dick jokes and complaining about sun exposure and a lack of air conditioning. My heart doesn’t squeeze-thump like a real heart. It internally vibrates, like quartz; modern medicine doesn’t understand this and just thinks I have a heart murmur. My heart is not shaped like a real heart or a Valentine heart; it doesn’t really have any shape at all. It extends diagonally and up, ending behind my right shoulder blade, but the extension only makes itself known when it hurts. It’s a sort of orangey-red, glowing and warm, like something out of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
That warmth isn’t necessarily “warmth,” mind you. I’m not exactly one of those touchy-feely, call everybody honey, Paula Deen sort of people. I’ve been told that I’m scary and icy. In truth, I’m just really socially awkward. It’s not that I dislike you; it’s that I have no idea what to do with you. This would all go much more smoothly if you could all become cats, but you’re people. People are weird, mercurial, difficult and they have a lot of weird social subtexts.
The warmth in my chest is more like an internal fire. It times of pain, I have sat and wished that the fire would just fucking die. Sitting, wishing that the damn thing would just go cold and let me be. I could stop caring about everything, go numb, and lie in bed watching reruns of The George Lopez Show. I keep waiting for someone or something to finally freeze the damn thing, but it (like the rest of me) is stubborn. I’m slowly realizing that I’m never going to get an “out.” I’m never going to learn to not care. It’s terribly inconvenient, but it keeps the Jello thumping. You kill the fire, you kill the heart.
Given this, I want to know what your hearts look like. Sit down and think about it (if you haven’t already) and post a comment. I’m terribly curious. Maybe we can put together a coffee table book or something. At the very least, I could make your heart and make it your birthday present. Or just hang it in my house, as though I’ve captured it, mwahaha.
“What’s up with that painting?”
“Oh, that’s ______’s heart.”