On her knees at the altar of True Love, she weeps. She weeps; she trembles. She wipes tears away with bloodstained hands, leaving red war paint on her face as she works feverishly on the mangled organ before her. So full of scars, and now with fresh wounds spilling over, her heart is nearly unrecognizable. This cut is only superficial so far, but sometimes those are the wounds that bleed and hurt the most. Each new blow seems to split open a portion of an old wound or two, oozing old infection, old hurt mixing into the new, poisoning her a little more.
Snipping a thread, she examines the cut. Satisfied that the worst is sewed up for the moment, she picks up the heart to examine and patch up any old wounds that have come apart. She studies them all closely, remembers it all in her mind’s eye as if it were yesterday. She runs her fingers along one of the oldest scars. The tissue is hard, the majority of the wound now 10 years old. She sees where it split back open, and created a new wound tract a year or two later. She scowls, remembering her first boyfriend; he always knew exactly what to say, which was to promise everything she always wanted. Empty promises, it turned out. Both journeys ended in his cheating; he was incapable of being alone. This wound has not reopened in some time; and it is not seeping now either.
There are so many scars, both deep and shallow. Looking at it is like looking at a roadmap, but all roads dead end. They may circle back a time or two, but they always end. So many missed or lost opportunities for love. There have been so many disappointments, so much heartache and betrayal; so many trips to this altar for repairs. All those times she ended up on the backburner for the boys in her life, they took a toll too, it is evident here. So many of these scars were created because she was unexpectedly replaced. One of the deepest cuts came when a boyfriend married another woman while still dating her. She still doesn’t trust well or easily after that one.
Scars of other origins reside here too. Years of malicious teasing by relatives and their minions show themselves in dots of scar tissue all over the organ. They still have a tendency to split apart more often than she would ever admit. The loss of family and friends; the loss of a best friend’s child just a month and a half before she was supposed to make her grand entrance into the world; all of the other war wounds from the traumas that life has thrown at her, they crisscross over and under all of the wounds of love.
She actually smiles, albeit ruefully, when she comes to the donut shaped scar in the next quadrant. Theoretically one of her biggest mistakes, she often cannot see it that way. An affair with an engaged man was not her finest moment, nor the best decision to have made. The chemistry, though, that coursed between them, was electric. She fell in love with his magnetic personality; even fell hook, line, and sinker for the corny metaphors used while trying to explain his floundering between the love of two women. Ultimately, he chose his fiancé, of course. But, she was young and naive; she did not realize that they were doomed before they started, as she was gazing through sex on the beach colored glasses. Even now, she does not completely regret the time spent together; she often wishes to meet someone with whom she will experience that same draw. Yes, her actions flew in the face of everything she believed in, everything she hopes for, but she was unable to resist the temptation. It is not an excuse, there is none; it is simply truth. Today, she wonders if she is being punished for this one choice…
She pauses when she reaches the wound that stretches diagonally across the entire organ. It nearly tore her in two. While not fresh, it is still not completely healed. She had some heavy duty repairs that time. Twice the stitching of any other wound, staples crisscrossed to try to hold it closed. It still seeps, and could rip open again at any moment, she knows. The story it tells, one of love, of loss, of the folly of youth, the belief of invincibility torn from her one December morning, it brings tears to her eyes again. She spent many a night cradling her heart in blood-soaked hands, stitching and re-stitching, sobbing until she had no breath left, only to return to the altar a few short hours later to do it all over again. It is too soon to remove the staples, the stitches. She could still fall apart again. She is periodically reminded of him, as there is often a throbbing in her chest that flairs up for no reason at all. She misses him, so very much. She knows now, he was her first love. She has wept for not realizing that before recently. She wonders what might have happened had she realized it years ago. She would not be looking at as many scars, she knows, but this one would still be there, and she may not have recovered had they been together. She loves him still; even death cannot change that. She was forever changed by knowing him; by loving him, even in the obscure way they loved.
She wonders when she will tire permanently of this cycle. When will she just throw her heart down at the altar and simply walk away as it bleeds out? Will it ever come to that? As it is, there is very little undamaged tissue, she does not know if there is much hope of surviving many more of these stabs to the chest. She does not know if she wants to. She has nearly given up on finding her True Love; this latest wound may be just what seals her fate. She has been at the foot of this altar, covered in her own blood, far too many times. She does her best to close it off, to avoid feeling, but her heart inevitably forgets, is vulnerable for a moment or two, and that is all it takes for a knife to slip between a rib, and she ends up back here again.
Sighing, she turns back to what is left of the heart in front of her. She adds a small suture or two, and once satisfied there is no more leakage, she places the organ back into the hole in her chest. After closing, she turns to the pile of bricks at her feet. Carefully slathering on mortar, she proceeds to do the only thing she can to survive; she rebuilds the brick wall around her heart, one she rebuilds after every cut, yet somehow she allows to crumble after time passes. Perhaps this time, she will not allow it to crumble again. Or, if it does, perhaps it will be for the last time, and she’ll have finally found everything she was looking for all these years.