extra heart valves.

This is true, elaborated a bit, but true… dammit.

You know, come to think of it, I never knew heart break in high school. Twenty years on the earth and I’d avoided heart break at every turn. I was always doing the dumping – in Starbucks, over the phone, in the mall, before Val Kilmer movies. I was the ultimate ex-boyfriend because I never gave a reason or cheated, I just kind of left. I was a cell, singular and without antioxidants. I felt the mutations, but never thought anything of them. I thought I was evolving but I was just using up healthy people.

On an unimportant Friday, in a November I forget, my heart first broke. My early-twenties were a waste, spent in a cigarette-box office. A cigarette-box office at the deadest end of an industrial park in Secaucus, New Jersey. At my 7pm winter desk, after everyone was home and dark, I’d imagine my poor heart. I had surrounded it with smoke, made it work harder for a pump, monitored it with a doctored-issued, blood-pressure cuff.

Thinking back on that November, it’s not important how my heart broke. I had made my career out of leaving, like a LinkedIn page with ellipses for every field. Girls had come and gone with their baggage and their faults. At first they seemed endearing, but then they became too much. Finally the faults in me were left instead of leaving. I couldn’t fold my clothes or listen to a song without thinking of every single different thing I could have ever done. If I had only stayed home, watched a movie, played guitar, I would have never partied, got drunk, fell in love.

I remembered the cell, before it craved attention all to itself. At the very top of a pile of ruined friendships and loves, I could see a vast expanse of moments. Moments that I could have never avoided, but that I’d failed in the midst of. My heart had been breaking the whole time, a product of the wear. I could see every relationship, different endings to each one, or so I thought. See, from my new vantage point, every ending was exactly the same as every other one. It was my weak heart, made up of selfish, ruined cells, that pushed horrible words out of my mouth. Determined words that would never stop until every single tie was severed.

See, the condition of your heart is not determined in an instant, it’s always on a path. I’m thankful for the love I can give now, and for the friends who took me back. I know that consequences are not karma, they’re the bricks I placed myself. I could have stopped that killer cell before it started, and because I didn’t, I’ll owe apologies forever. But you know, I threw away that blood pressure cuff. My heart murmur healed itself. I stopped smoking (for the most part). Pieces of my heart will be gone, never coming back. I’m thankful for all the love I hold, and all the pieces I still have.

-Nick Orsini

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