A while ago, I dreamed that I was sick. I went to the doctor, and she told me that my illness had to be cured immediately.
“How?” I asked.
“By removing your heart,” she said. “It’s very easy.”
She gave me a knife.
“After it’s out, put your heart on this tray,” she said pointing at a stainless-steel square before she closed the door behind her.
I did as I was told. Cutting into my chest was easier than I’d thought. Nearly painless. When I was done, I held my heart in my hand. A little like raw steak. A little like Jello. I put my heart on the tray, just as the doctor had asked. I lay it down gently.
“Will I get a replacement?” I asked the doctor on my way out. “Will I ever get a new one?”
For the rest of the dream, I went from work to social occasion to work again and so on. Whenever anyone asked me how I was, I said, “I don’t have my heart anymore. Can you believe it?”
They couldn’t, they said. They marveled at how healthy I looked, how normal.
“I know,” I replied. “I hardly miss it.” But my chest did feel emptier, a little hollower. My fingers and toes felt numb and tingly. The blood was having difficulty circulating.
When I woke up, I was relieved to find my heart in my chest. I caught myself checking it throughout the day, putting my hand to my skin, and waiting to feel the pulse. Since then, each day, I wake up and check my heart. At first, I didn’t notice anything, but gradually, the beating grew fainter, less frequent.
Earlier today, I put my hand to my chest, and I felt nothing but stillness, quiet. Today is my friend’s fifth wedding anniversary, and tonight she’s having a party. Everyone will be there. I cannot wait to go. I can just imagine walking up to my friends and loved ones, holding their hands to my chest, and seeing their faces when they recognize the absence of movement and heat. I cannot wait to tell them, “I hardly miss it.”