I had said,
“Don’t force me to reveal the ugly origami that is my heart.
The space it fits into is cramped and bloody
And I am not sure I could get it back inside.”
But you had insisted.
And then I had revealed myself, against my will.
Against my better judgment.
We sat staring at it, the slimy shape in my hands, purple and red, shiny in the
late-night mood lighting of the restaurant. It began staining the tablecloth at the edge of the table where I placed my hands.
And the smell.
I hadn’t expected that.
Iron rich blood, and something faintly sweet.
“Put it away, I can’t stand it”
And then you said,
“What should we do with it?”
I cradled it, cupped in my hands and looked from you and back to my hands, to the visceral reminder of what I had done.
“You need to leave,” I said.
“I will figure it out.”
You were silent, and at some point you left.
And I sat there for a while, feeling the outside of it start to cool, and to harden.
That is, to scab.
I knew that action was required, but my hands were occupied. I rocked it slowly back and forth, trying to see if I noticed a difference. It was just a little unpleasant, and I grimaced, and then reached for my napkin. I gently rolled the heart onto one hand, and spread the napkin out over the other hand with a flicking motion. Slowly, I rolled my heart onto the napkin on my hand, and then bringing the four corners together I made a bundle that I could carry.
It was heavier than I thought it would be, and I looked around to see if anyone in this busy restaurant had noticed.
They hadn’t, and I headed for the door.
The night air was warm, and I walked towards my car.
I felt ill about my bloody hands touching the steering wheel of my car, but the blood was mostly dry by now. I made a rubbing motion with my hand, fingers curling against palm, and a dusting of dried blood sifted down.
Should I go to the hospital? The stitches alone would be a fortune.
I drove, poorly, as though it didn’t matter. My heart rested, damp, in the depression where my legs met. I may have run a red light.
Arriving at my house, I thought
"This is a morning problem; I need sunshine and daylight to think this through."
So I went inside.
It was a fragile feeling, being both the heart and the vessel. I was tired, and instead of facing the mirror to undress, I turned my back.
I put on the softest cotton shirt I owned, still holding the now stained bundle by the four corners. I switched it from one hand to another to pull on the shirt.
I pulled back the covers, climbed into my bed and spread the napkin out, like a picnic.
I looked at it as I lay on my side, and felt the place inside me longing to be filled.