Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

…wake up at six in the morning to make coffee…stay in bed, curled up under the comforter, hair tangled, skin warm, purring with pleasure.

~ Maylis de Kerangal, The Heart: A Novel


Photo: Barber in Moustache Magazine, Dec 2, 2015 (via mennyfox55)

The Heart

red-coat-hands

It’s 4 a.m.  Zeke’s asleep on my right, his front legs are stiff armed, fully extended and laying on my chest. No, on my Heart. But for his breathing, I could be laying in bed in the “world’s quietest room“, so completely quiet that I can hear my own organs pumping.  The hypnotic page-turning ride continued:

“She paces the room. If this is a donation, it’s a pretty unusual one, she thinks. There is no donor in this operation— no one intended to make a donation— and likewise there is no donee, because she is not in a position to refuse the organ: she has to accept it if she wants to survive. So what is it exactly? The recycling of an organ that can still be used, can still fulfill its function as a pump? She begins to undress, sitting on the bed: she removes her boots, her socks. The meaning of this transfer, for which she was selected by an incredible alignment of coincidences— the almost perfect compatibility of her blood and her genetic code with those of someone who died today— all of this becomes hazy. She does not like this feeling of unearned privilege; this lottery, it’s like winning a little stuffed animal snagged by the metal claw from a jumble of toys piled behind glass in one of those arcade games. Worst of all is that she will never be able to say thank you; that is the crux of the matter. It’s simply impossible. Thank you— that radiant phrase— will fall into the void. She will never be able to express any kind of gratitude to the donor or the donor’s family, never mind offer a gift in return in order to free herself from this infinite debt, and the idea that she will be permanently trapped crosses her mind. The floor is ice-cold under her feet. She is afraid. Her whole being flinches…

She hopes that she will be able to kiss her sons before she puts on this tissue-paper gown that flutters without covering her up, making her feel as if she is naked in a breeze. Her eyes remain dry, but she is struggling to get her head around the enormity of what she is about to go through. Placing her hand there, between her breasts, she feels her pulse, still slightly too fast in spite of the medication, still somewhat unpredictable too, and says its name out loud: heart.”

~ Maylis de Kerangal, The Heart: A Novel

I’m done but it won’t be done with me – ever – an unforgettable story.


Notes:

Saturday Morning

sleep-cozy-cat

…(She) would (not) wake up at six in the morning
to make coffee and hand the cup lovingly to her husband:
instead, (she) would stay in bed,
curled up under the comforter,
hair tangled, skin warm,
purring with pleasure.

~ Maylis de Kerangal, The Heart: A Novel


Notes:

  • Photo: Roger Ballen
  • Related posts: Maylis de Kerangal
  • Quote Passage is modified from original: (She) and (not) are insertions and (she) replaced (they)

Morning Lecture.

heart-art-bird
The last time Marthe Carrare heard Harfang speak, he had delivered a sparkling lecture… (He) concluded his speech by foreshadowing the end of cardiac transplants, suggesting they would soon become obsolete because the time had come to consider the virtues of artificial hearts, technological wonders invented and developed in a French laboratory…A murmur ran through the auditorium, waking up the drowsier students. Harfang’s audience was disconcerted by this conclusion, by the idea that a prosthetic heart could rob the organ of its symbolic power, and while most of the heads obediently bowed down toward the spiral notebooks held below them, concentrating as the hands took notes of Harfang’s words, a few shook from side to side, signaling sadness, or even vague dissent, while some slid hands inside jackets, behind ties, under shirts, touching bare skin so they could feel their hearts beating.

~ Maylis de Kerangal, The Heart: A Novel


Notes:

A hundred thousand times a day. 10 pints a minute.

photography, RedF Nam Le Hoang Vietnam

The thing about Simon Limbres’s heart, this human heart, is that, since the moment of his birth, when its rhythm accelerated, as did the other hearts around it, in celebration of the event, the thing is, that this heart, which made him jump, vomit, grow, dance lightly like a feather or weigh heavy as a stone, which made him dizzy with exhilaration and made him melt with love, which filtered, recorded, archived — the black box of a twenty-year-old body — the thing is that nobody really knows it; only a moving image created by ultrasound could echo its sound and shape, could make visible the joy that dilates it and the sadness that tightens it; only the paper trace of an electrocardiogram, set in motion at the very beginning, could draw the shape, describe the exertion, the quickening emotion, the prodigious energy needed to contract almost a hundred thousand times a day, to pump nearly ten pints of blood every minute, yes, only that graph could tell a story, by outlining the life of ebbs and flows, of gates and valves, a life of beats — for, while Simon Limbres’s heart, this human heart, is too much even for the machines, no one could claim to really know it, and that night, that starless and bone-splittingly cold night on the estuary and in the Pays de Caux, as a lightless swell rolled all along the cliffs, as the continental shelf retreated, revealing its geological bands, there could be heard the regular rhythm of a resting organ, a muscle that was slowly recharging, a pulse of probably less than fifty beats per minute, and a cell-phone alarm went off at the foot of a narrow bed, the echo of a sonar signal translated into luminescent digits on the touchscreen — 05:50 — and suddenly everything raced out of control.

~ Maylis de Kerangal, The Heart: A Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2016)


Photo: RedF by Nam Le Hoang, Vietnam

 

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