4.20.2007

Bowing to the King

When you place a beating heart upon a throne and adorn it with a crown, like any other ruler it gets mighty full of itself and starts bossing around others. The body parts gather to listen, for the heart’s been away for a while and like any admired traveler that returns from a lengthy journey, its subjects wanted to hear a good story.

I’d expected a place of exalted honor for delivering heart back to its home, but I was quickly pushed to the back of the crowd, my view obscured by arms and livers, a gallbladder or two, and even an overgrown ear. Heart stood high and claimed knowledge the other body parts were too ignorant to know. I didn’t like heart’s pompous tone, so I pushed out of the crowd and decided to wander along the highway that bisected the vast nothingness of undeveloped terrain.

Fields spread wide on both sides of the road, and I wondered why heart had asked to return home rather than enjoy wildflowers and discarded aluminum cans. One could learn a lot about travelers by studying the trash they threw from their windows. I could never do that, brazenly toss my garbage from a car, not since those anti-littering ads starring the crying Indian in full headdress. Years later when attending a university that once had an Indian as a mascot, I learned of the sacrilege of dressing an actor in Native American religious wear to cheer on a football team or for use in advertising campaigns. I think that may have been one of the key things I learned in college.

The two-lane highway was void of all cars, a simple dotted line dividing it into its two parts. I stayed to the right and walked mimicking the invisible flow of traffic, but I longed for a car for company, for life on a highway without cars was lonely and unexciting.

Restless with my walk and curious about how heart was getting on, I turned around. I heard the echo of heart passionately spewing from the throne, thinking it rules the body, getting all bossy and dogmatic about the importance of its role including mandates that it must not be neglected. Meanwhile, brain sits on the sidelines shaking its head – its head? itself? – anyway, shaking in amusement over heart’s overblown self-importance. On the other hand, brain relates to feeling all knowing in its role. It, too, has wanted undying admiration.

When the gathering of body parts ended and heart had said its piece about love and passion and paying attention to when it beats hardest, the crowd dispersed and brain saw its opening. It walked over to heart and asked to talk, defying the protocol of requesting a formal audience. Heart was initially suspicious remembering the last time the two of them had gotten into it over what heart called a failed romance and brain called an act of stupidity. The chill and silence between them had lasted for weeks until they were forced into an encounter at a whole body symposium. In each other’s presence they’d both finally conceded the value of the other and had agreed to a truce, though with notably less enthusiasm than was required to peacefully coexist.

But since brain was approaching nicely this time and heart was feeling generous in light of a warm welcome home, well, heart warmly embraced brain.

They stood in silence before each other for a moment. Finally heart opened the door. “You wanted to speak to me.”

“Yes,” said brain, but brain was uncertain how to begin.

“Well?” prodded heart.

“Well, I just wanted to say that I’m sorry for challenging you all these years, for trying to diminish your importance.” Brain paused.

Heart waited.

And then brain started to weep, a role usually played by heart. Heart softened, stunned by this shift in brain. Heart had wanted this for brain for so long, a letting down of its guard, a willingness to melt. In another era, heart might have been smug, but not today. And in an embrace, heart and brain finally realized they were on the same side.

7 comments:

Penny. said...

That usually takes a lifetime of conscientious work.

Isn't the union beautiful... Tenative, but inspiring.

kristen said...

This is why you follow your passion DeeZee. Your writing needs to be seen, read, felt and embraced.

jen said...

oh, friend. i read this last night and had to leave it and come back again so i could find better words for it's beauty.

and i still don't have them, except bravo. deeply. nicely done, this piece of your journey.

Delton said...

Nice imagery and a profound realization. Very cool piece.

Rrramone said...

This is genius. But you knew that. :-)

Neil said...

Just tell heart to keep watch on the brain. The brain can be complex and high-maintenance, always screwing things up.

Rach said...

Amazing writing Deezee. Am lost for words.