It was my heart. I was sure of it.
There in the window of the butchers’… Bright fist of flowers on a meat hook.
I was prevented from entering the shop. All I could do was wait and see what might happen next.
To my surprise, the butcher permitted me to organise the set up of a video monitor on a shelf in the corner of her shop. A heart cam! Of course, I did not personally attend the procedure. She said it was the least she could do, as long as I paid the electricity bills in a timely fashion.
CLANG – the door to the butchers’ shop opened, and a cluster of school children entered. I couldn’t hear what they were after, but I could see the butcher shaking her head, and pointing them firmly in the direction of the sweet shop.
Next, an elderly couple came in, with large cases the colour of old sellotape. One case contained a lyre on which bitterly chirpy tunes were played, while the other case was filled with empty bowls and vials, which fit neatly into velveteen recesses. Watching them leave, the butcher gave a little wave, and closed the door carefully after them.
No one else went in for a very long time.
Rarely would friends have described me as a calm soul, and now, impatience grew in me, like a weed bursting through a house.
I worked extra hours to keep the monitor running. There is always someone, somewhere, who wants a pizza. At home, I fed old tales to cracks in the windows and walls, to keep the wind out.
Then, at last… one day, the door clanged open again. A clock in a dark suit, with a shiny silver face went up to the counter, spoke to the butcher, and left, with my heart.
I had no idea what happened.
I think I missed it a little. Yet, I couldn’t be sure.
One day, the clock came back with my heart. It was probably just a funny angle, but I really think it had melted slightly.
The butcher put the price up and my heart back in the window.
Before summer ended, the shop door opened and a coin strode in. Round-faced like the clock, the coin was stinking rich, yet dressed in a cloak of old dirt and never ate except at another’s table.
The haggling continued until the ground was covered in snow.
The next afternoon, I fell asleep and dreamt about an ocean of eagles, swimming towards a box of biscuits, buried deep in its hidden floor.
Awaking, I noticed my heart was gone.
The phone rang in the shop. After some deliberation, the butcher took the phone out of the freezer and answered my call, denying all knowledge of our arrangement.
What exactly had it been again? I wasn’t so sure…
Yet, the monitor is there on your shelf, I said. I can see you, holding a coffee and reading a library book about-
I’ve no idea who this is, she whispered sourly, looking right at the camera, and hung up on me.
The picture fizzled and instead of showing the butchers, displayed a photo of various endearing baby animals. I was a little confused.
Music from an advert for footless tights trickled out from the tv.
“You’re as cold as ice.”🎵
I picked up my keys and walked towards an orange sky.
The butcher put down her coffee as the door opened. She regarded me over the counter, behind safety goggles, her eyes glinted like the last bit of jam.
I made that sawdust from a shelf, she grimaced proudly as a choir began singing from the deep freeze.
How was I to know she liked hymns?
Suddenly, she steps across the sawdust and opens the freezer.
I am handed a jar, painted grey.
I know what is inside.
Or is it?