I woke up in the middle of the night and my heart was on the floor in the bedroom doorway. I looked at my heart and wondered what the hell it was doing outside of my chest and on the floor, and my heart said never mind, just follow it.
I looked over at Mark, and my heart said never mind him either. My heart said that Mark was even worse than Noel, and if things had been up to my heart, I never would’ve gotten involved with Mark in the first place.
I threw on some jeans and a top and followed my heart. My heart slid down the hallway to the stairs and then it rolled down them. I yawned and said it was two in the morning and where were we going? My heart said Jesus I was repressed, complaining already when we hadn’t even gone anywhere. It said I was nearly forty and I’d never once listened to it, and we weren’t either of us going to live forever.
Downstairs I grabbed a pair of flats and my keys. My heart said I’d better grab my wallet and a purse too, because we were going to be gone awhile, so I did and then my heart opened the door and led me down the street.
We weaved through a bunch of side streets in the Annex and then into Little Italy and then into Kensington. I asked several times where we were going, and my heart said it wanted to wander for a bit. Eventually it stopped outside this one house on Augusta just the other side of Dundas.
The house looked familiar. My heart said of course the house looked familiar. It said we’d been to a party there a few months ago. My heart said it was where the cute guy, Francesco lived. My heart led me up to the door and then it banged on the door until Francesco came down.
Francesco was groggy. It took him a minute to figure out who I was, and he seemed confused by my heart lying on his front stoop, but he let me in.
He asked if I’d had a fight with Mark, and I said I hadn’t. I said it was just that I was finally following my heart after all these years and my heart had led me to him. Francesco seemed okay with that. He didn’t seem weirded out by it, and he didn’t try to take advantage of me. We were together for two weeks before we had sex.
Mark came looking for me, but my heart always went the other way when it saw him coming, and I felt compelled to follow it. Francesco and Mark got into a fight over the whole thing. Francesco came out on top and Mark said fine, but I wasn’t getting any of my stuff, and he was changing the locks.
Two months after I moved in with Francesco, I found my heart on the floor in the bedroom doorway in the middle of the night again. I said what now, and my heart said Francesco was hot, sure, but he was kind of an idiot, even more than Mark was, and what was it with me and always having to be with a man?
I said men were easier for me to attract than other women, and I liked them better than other women, and my heart said I was missing the point entirely. My heart said to follow it, and to bring my wallet again and maybe a few clothes. It said I was hopeless, and it should have done this a long time ago.
I followed my heart down to the water and over to the Island Airport. From there I followed my heart to New York and then on to Europe. My money started to run thin in Europe. My heart said not to worry about that. My heart said I was following it, and that was worth more than anything else I could be doing with my life.
The money ran out in Istanbul, and I got stuck on the street. My heart shrugged and said it was doing its best. It said it bet I’d never felt so free as I did now, and it was true.
My heart and I found a woman who offered to put us up for the night. She gave me food and wine and she didn’t cut me off when I’d drunk too much, and my heart got all nostalgic and wanted to go home.
The woman helped me to get a job working in one of the markets, but the pay wasn’t very good and my heart got impatient and led me to a brothel where I could make way better money and get us home sooner.
It took three months to save up the money to get home. I followed my heart to the airport in Ottawa and into a cab, and then to the park by my parents’ place. My heart led me to the swings and then the slide and then we dropped in on my parents.
A few nights later, when I saw my heart on the floor in the bedroom doorway, I went and scooped it up. My heart said what was I doing? It said it was good to visit home sometimes, but surely I didn’t want to be stuck there with my parents for the rest of my life.
I threw my heart in a dresser drawer and sat with my back against the drawer until morning. My heart banged on the drawer all night and begged me to let it out.
In the morning, I went out to the mall and bought a box for my heart, and mostly I keep the box locked. I moved back to Toronto and got a job and except for Mark and Francesco, I’ve gone back to my old life.
I even let my heart out now and then to keep it happy. I keep it on a leash when I do though, just in case, because I may not be able to live without my heart, but I can’t be wasting my time following it.