The last few weeks we have been bombarded with hearts – Valentine heart cards, heart decorated wrapping paper, teddy bears cuddling huge red hearts. Hearts swaying from shop ceiling as they join in the extravaganza called Valentines. How could I fail but to recall a piece of flash fiction I wrote last year and is aptly named ‘The Little Heart’. Romantics be warned – this is not a love story.
The Little Heart
In my bubble I bump against life, insulated from its joys and sorrows. My child gesticulates wildly, his face alight with excitement and there must be words. Such sweet words from that gentlest of voices, but for me inaudible. The fog within me wraps around my nerves, slowly strangling all the senses.
“They’re here to help you,” my husband promised.
“You’re the one who needs the help,” I screamed.
In those days I could shout, argue, feel, love, rage.
“Take it!” The man in white orders. Glancing down in my hand, I obey. The beguiling beauty of the hollowed heart of the blue tablet pulsates reassuringly. I glimpse closer. It’s not a heart, rather a soft-scooped “V”. V for victory to the zombie that in the ensuing days commandeers my body. It overwhelms me and all that remains is a modicum of myself, a spectator to this tragedy.
“She’s much calmer. Happier even.” The words drift painfully to my brain.
My son appears, hugs me and his sad wild eyes penetrate my soul. He leaves – his ghostly presence imprinted on my mind. I was tricked into this hell. Trapped. I’ll fight my way out. For my life and child.
“His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”
From Dubliners by James Joyce