My heart. Its two halves hang in a fine balance.
Twenty years ago, my old lover gave me a ceramic heart on a ribbon. Last year when he left, I snapped it down the middle and strung the two halves side by side in the window.
This new lover twines his fingers through mine in public and cups my cheeks when we kiss. His texts contain stickers of lips and hugs and YouTube links to Ain’t No Sunshine and Long Lost Lover. He teaches me self-defence moves and introduces me to vodka caramel. Somehow, he makes me look good when we dance.
Still, I have wrinkles at my knees and on the undersides of my arms. He is mostly bone-smooth and muscled, except for his face and torso, which he shaves twice a week. After a day, he’s too thorny to touch. And yesterday he asked, Wasn’t Owen Meany a cartoon bully?
So today, in high heels, I avoid a gaping hole in the sidewalk, and dodge drips from overhead drains and skirt several buckled blocks on the road to meet him around the corner, at Marco’s Pizzeria, where I order pepperoni because it’s his favourite not mine and offer him half to eat with his beer. Then I say something about this having been fun, about my heart, and inanely, perhaps even about balance and a crucible.
Pearl Luke is the author of two novels, Burning Ground and Madame Zee. She does freelance editing and mentors emerging writers. She can be found at http://www.pearlluke.com