I am lying in bed and missing my heart.
I pray to the Beloved to fall in love and I do. I happen to be terribly sick because the Beloved is teaching me to take time off and not just work harder and longer to avoid grieving. This is the second lesson. Or the fifth, depending on how I count it. The previous one was two months, this will be ten.
But early on, before I realize that death is standing in my doorway, I am at a picnic. A sports picnic with parents and teens and some younger children. I see a man who has been flirting with me be nice to an eleven year old girl. My heart falls out of my chest and attaches itself to him. It follows him home.
He is quite spectacularly wrong for me. I know it but my heart doesn't care. And he is a liar, manipulator and a slut. Familiar ground, just like my family. I go to his place and try to catch my heart, but it is stubborn and skitters away from me. It is covered with sawdust, cat hair and motor oil. Also rabbit fur. He raises bunnies for meat and kills them. I cuddle the babies and then he does too.
My heart is brutally stubborn. I tell it it is stupid, it will get hurt, he doesn't want it, all the usual stuff. I think the Beloved is laughing at me. By January I revise my prayers. Ok, Beloved, you win AGAIN, I am STUPID, now I want NOT ONLY to fall in love but to fall in love with someone who loves me back. I am so stupid I can't believe it.
The Beloved ignores me, since my heart is already gone. Damn it.
The man tells me a dream. He dreams that his son is stuffed inside a giant teddy bear to keep him safe. He is fighting a war alone, being shot at and shooting a multitude of enemies. He tells me that his son is trained. If he needs to come out of the bear, he will be angry and he is trained to kill. Another dream is of zombies coming up from the shop and attacking the door. He and a teen or two are trying to hold them off.
There are no women in his dreams. At least the ones he tells me.
Uh, Beloved? Shit. I dream of angels, as many angels as there are stars. I meet with my minister to challenge his ideas. "The people in dreams are aspects of ourselves, ok, but not angels right? I can't have that many angels. I was raised atheist, damn it."
My minister smiles. "The angels are aspects of yourself."
And zombies...well, we're well matched on a psychic level, right? I have enough angels to handle any number of zombies and more.
I connect with his small child self, because our small child selves are so alike. Abandoned at the same age and afraid and with desperate courage.
His pattern is obvious from the start. Mapped out like a constellation. I tell my heart, but it scurries up ladders, into boats, down the metal stands, under cars. It plays among the tools. I tell it to be careful of the saws and power tools and it ignores me.
He lies and ignores emails and lies again and avoids me when he's done something that will hurt me and like, obvious, duh. I get angry, but my angels map a new path to his small child each time. Boundary after boundary after boundary.
And now I am in contact only by text. Only by distant virtual message. He is showing up again, of course, because that's the pattern. He has tried so hard to make me angry and make me abandon him in rage. I don't really care. He fixes the leak on my boat that I asked him about over a year ago. He texts about installing the bilge pump. He offers to bag up the cushions and put them in his loft.
No, I reply. I have room in my house.
The only things left at his shop are a broken motor, pipe clamps that I inherited from my father and my heart. I will go to get them.
I lie in bed, thinking of getting the motor and clamps. I think of asking for my heart too. But he has never noticed it. I didn't tell him. It was obvious. And he didn't want it. He doesn't want it. So why would I tell him now?
And then I think, I can just call my heart. I don't need to go in person.
I call my heart. Come home, I say. He never noticed you. You could stay, but we have done everything we can. He is still fighting the zombies, he doesn't know he is fighting himself. He is fighting his own feelings. Come home.
My heart comes home.
It is in my chest. Filthy, sawdust, bruised, motor oil, banged up, with old tears that I mended with ribbon and dental floss and sewing thread and artificial cat gut.
Welcome home, my heart. Welcome home.