“but a kind of yearning has hold of me – to die and to look upon the dewy lotus banks of Acheron”
Is there an animal with no heart? Does the absence of the beating rhythm stop all life or can one go on without a heart? Like the lion in the Wizard of Oz who yearns for a heart.
Aíma was a girl who had dreamed of having no heart. She was quite young, not yet fully grown, but curious. She worked in a butchers in the city and her long days were spent cutting, dicing, fileting, packing, selling. She was used to the feel of raw flesh in her hands and the red brown of blood under her fingernails. But she had always wondered about it – could a person live without a heart? Her dreams told her they could.
On this night she was lying in her bed in her apartment trying to cool off. She had a temperature, she was burning up and the night air was not cooling the fire that prickled under her skin. She wrestled with the sheets, fanning herself with the billowing material but try as she might, she couldn’t cool down. In and out of consciousness, her mind drifted to the dreams that were always in the back of her thoughts. She started to dream of having no heart.
After a while, the heat was too much and the open window was not helping. The chill of the winter air did nothing to quell her fever. Aíma had had enough and sat up in bed, her mind wandering as it did to animals living, breathing without a heart. She got up and without questioning her actions; she walked to the kitchen and found a pair of scissors. She gripped them in her hands and throwing her coat on, she left the apartment carrying the scissors under her clothes. She could feel the cold metal on her skin and it felt amazing. In the city at night there were not many people about. It was perhaps one or two in the morning. Few shops were open and Aíma was not distracted by other walkers. She left the apartment block and began to walk, faster with each step. She knew where she was going but at the same time she did not. She just followed where her feet took her. It started to snow.
On the outskirts of the city, she eventually reached a disused warehouse with a large car park. It was empty save a few bicycles chained to the railings and an old beaten up Corvette that had seen better days. Still holding the scissors under her jacket, Aíma walked purposefully to the corner of the car park where yesterday’s snowfall was backed up against the wall. The fresh snow was light and melting as it touched the white compacted powder on the concrete. But slowly, it began to settle. Aíma could feel it on her skin, cooling her hot, stinging flesh. She took the scissors and began to gauge a hole in the snow and ice. Deep she struggled with the scissors – they were just regular kitchen scissors – until she had a hole about 30cm into the snow. She took off her jacket and grasped the scissors before stabbing the open blades into her chest. The pain of the cut was alleviated by the cold touch of the scissors. Aíma dug deeper and passing through layers of flesh and ribs, she reached her heart. She felt it beating fast under the bones and cartilage and reasoned that she must cut it out. There was a lot of blood on her hands, on the scissors and spattered on the white grey snow. Drops of red and black mixing with the ice. She was sweating and shivering at once and felt as though she was about to faint.
But she persevered and cutting with the scissors at lumps and bumps of flesh and skin, she could feel her heart in her hands, She was used to holding bloody flesh from working at the butchers, but this was hotter, burning. She took the heart and threw it down into the hole she had dug before covering it over with layers of old snow. She wiped the scissors clean on her coat and crawled under the material, curled up on the snow next to where she had buried her heart. It was just as it was in her dreams. She rested her head on the ice and went to sleep. Her ritual was complete.