April 4, 2017

Fiction by Charles E.J. Moulton: "Where Hearts Never Die"


CHARLES E.J. MOULTON has been a stage performer since age eleven. His trilingual, artistic upbringing, as the son of Gun Kronzell and Herbert Moulton, lead to a hundred stage productions, countless cross-over concerts, work as a bandleader and as an acting teacher. He is a regular contributor for Idea Gems, has written for Shadows Express, Cover of Darkness, Vocal Images and Pill Hill Press. He is a tourguide, a big-band-vocalist, a filmmaker, a painter, a voice-over-speaker, a translator, is married and has a daughter. Charles E.J. Moulton's passion is creative versatility. His short story collection, Aphrodite's Curse: 21 Tales of Love and Terror can be purchased by clicking the link. Homepages:http://www.reverbnation.com/charlesejmoulton/ and http://moultoniancreativity.weebly.com






Where Hearts Never Die


I'd always loved the way Martha made coffee. No idea what it was about it, the amount of spoons of the basic stuff in the final mix, the fact that she used water from a healthy mountain spring or just her wonderful sense of humor. Maybe it was just my own imagination, but hers was better than any other coffee I knew. On the other hand, love makes many things taste fantastic. And her restful company was soothing.
The croissants, the jam, the French folded napkins, the scented candles. All that was delicious to say the least.
Even after six weeks, sitting opposite her at the breakfast table was a revelation. The worries, no lengthy visits at the clinic, sharing stale bread with low fat jam next to a sterile hospital room bed. All that wear and tear had put a strain on both of us.
That strain was still visible in her face.
I put my cup of black Java back on the plate, smiling.
Martha cocked her head, looking down.
"Forgot to tell ya, Jimmy, I got a call from Dr. Smithers while you were at work yesterday," she whispered.
I think Martha saw a worried question mark in my face. She shook her head.
"Nothing bad," she said, suddenly calming down my senses. "Just ... interesting."
"The surgeon who conducted the comparitive tests on your heart?" I asked.
"And mind," she added, lifting her peanut butter and jelly sandwich to her lips and taking a bite. She munched, mumbling. "I used to hate this stuff, remember? Smithers told me my tastes would change."
I looked at her, shrugging.
"What are you saying, dear?"
She leaned forward, looking me straight in the eye.
"Smithers' theory was surprisingly sound," she began. "He put electrodes to my brain and body and showed me random pictures. Before every scary picture of accidents or murders, before, mind you, my heart beat grew irregular and fluttery. Before every nice picture of sunsets and flowers, my heart calmed down. More interesting: he chose pictures of things my donor liked, like peanut butter or swim wear and my heart beat grew faster but regular."
"So, you are taking over your donor's personality traits?" I inquired.
Martha took another big bite of her toast and nodded. "According to Smithers, he made tests on 19 heart transplant patients, including me, and all of them show the same patterns: the heart has memories. As if ..."
I waited.
"As if ... what?"
She laughed. "As if life itself painted every moment into its cells."
I took another sip of my perfect coffee, watching Martha devour the last bite of her peanut bread.
"Other memories residing in your chest. Isn't that ... scary?"
She shook her head.
"New tastes are fine, a new heart is fantastic," she laughed, "but my new dreams ... are ... weird."
My hand gently caressed hers, making her respond with tenderness, embracing my hand like a mother's arm embracing a baby.
"You tossed and turned last night," I said.
Martha closed her eyes, a shiver criss-crossing her spine, it seemed. At least, she jumped a bit, her upper body twitching a bit.
"I see how my donor was injured," she added, opening her eyes and gazing at me with those beautiful reindeer eyes. She bit on her lower lip, one tear pushing itself out of her right eye.
All those years of holding her tight, summer strolls hand in hand, making love at sunset, our vows at St. Anselm's Chapel in Syracuse, laughing at silly movies over oversalted popcorn, it all came back to me.
"I told Smithers what I told the police last month," she croaked, taking out her handkerchief to blow her nose. "I did my part in catching the culprit that mugged and attacked him and that's it. I want no part of the pain anymore. I owe that to my donor."
"You owe it to yourself."
Martha blew her nose and laughed, nervously, another tear rolling down her cheek. She dried it away.
"What did Smithers say about that?"
"I wasn't responsible for the man's death, the family decided to turn off the machines in favor of giving me the heart, that he could send me to the Psychosomatic Institute in Idaho again for another evaluation."
I searched for words.
"If the dreams don't go away," she added, "I will go back."
"These were the guys that proved in experiments that thoughts weigh something," I concluded.
Martha sighed again.
"Maybe I should learn to let go."
I shook my head. "If your heart has this man's memories and your thoughts weigh something, if you are spiritual energy, you can teach your heart and mind new tricks. Teach it to trust. Keep the peanut butter, add the faith. God will do the rest."
Martha smiled. She nodded, beaming in such a beautiful way it made me cry happy tears. I knew I had healed a small portion of her pain right then and there.
"Teach your heart to trust," I repeated.
"I like that," she concluded and gave me the most tender kiss I have ever experienced. It made me tingle all over.
I knew then and there it was time for a new life. A new heart. New trust. A baby.
And faith to live forever.
Our souls lived in the one land that never ever ceased to vibrate with endless divinity.
The realm of true and everlasting love where hearts never die.

© Charles E.J. Moulton

3 comments:

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  2. Thank you for posting your story in Indiana Voice Journal. I enjoyed reading this story. Raymond Greiner

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