Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Heartless Romance by John Edward Lawson

I closed my eyes and puckered my lips; my heart was doing the same. I never imagined my heart and I would go that far but we did, and it was unnervingly exciting. I wanted to whisper, “Don’t look.” Or, “Don’t tell me if my mouth tastes funny.” Or, “This hole in my chest is getting cold.” Instead we kissed long and hard, and the serenity that came over me only just barely countered the quickening of my breath, the mounting tension in my muscles. The kiss itself could not have lasted more than ten seconds but was as draining as a funeral service. When we finally drew apart my lips were dripping warmth--not a wetness induced by the passion of the moment, no; it is simply in a heart’s nature to be a bloody mess.
    We held back in wonder momentarily, laying there in the stark moonlight with the stiff grass complaining against our backs. Then we simply embraced. It pulsed sticky against my cheek, and yes I am not ashamed to admit that in that moment I took the liberty of fondling a ventricle. Rest assured there was no protest from my heart.
    “I…love you,” I said uneasily. It was the first time for that arrangement of syllables to pass the hurdle of my lips, but somehow they made it.
    “Don’t get carried away,” my heart said with it’s typical brashness. “You’ve got that attachment thing going on, don’t you? That co-dependancy thing. Seen it on the TV.”
    No, I wouldn’t let my heart spoil the moment’s worth, not after all we had been through. So after a short lull I looked over its quivering, bulbous exterior and said, “Check out those muscles. You’ve been working out again, haven’t you?”
    “Ah, well,” it chuckled, finally softening. “You noticed? Do I really look like all that?”
    “You know it,” I purred reassuringly.
    So I leaned back on my elbows and watched my heart strike some muscle poses, cranking out coronary-worthy pumps in the attempt to impress me. “How about that,” it huffed. “How you like me now?”
    “You’re the only heart for me.” Having said that I let my mind wander a bit, which brought on a surge of panic. “Oh no. Oh no, oh no. What are we going to do? Huh?”
    “Hey, we got away clean. Sure there was some gunfire, and sure some people got hurt, but we made it out of there okay. All’s we got to do now is stick to the plan and get moving. Head down Mexicali way and lay low for a while.”
    This settled my nerves enough that I was able to start gathering our get-away gear. “I love you. I really do.”
    My heart did not reply.
    “That man, the one at the desk? He had pretty good aim, huh?”
    “Good enough to tear your chest open pretty bad.”
    In that grove of trees it felt as though we were redefining enchantment with this criminal affair. Robbery, murder, arson, we did it all with a passion that had been lacking in every other moment of my life. My heart had me in its grip, I knew it then as surely as I do now, and maybe in the final analysis I would be no more than a pawn blinded by love in this game of rogue excess.
    “It’s time we got a move on. Remember, careful what you say to people. All’s we got to do is hook the first car what comes along, then we’re home free. Or we’re walkin’.” I followed my heart out of the woods. We took to the road and the ensuing reliance on my feet gave me a whole new appreciation for them. But that love quadrangle is another story altogether.

John Edward Lawson has published nine books, seven chapbooks, and over five hundred works in anthologies, magazines, and literary journals worldwide. He is a winner of the Fiction International Emerging Writers Competition, and has been a finalist for the Stoker Award and Wonderland Award. Other nominations include the Dwarf Stars Award, the Pushcart Prize, and the Rhysling Award. As a freelance editor he worked for Raw Dog Screaming Press, Double Dragon Publishing, and National Lampoon, has edited seven anthologies, and served as editor-in-chief for The Dream People. Recently he became a columnist at IMJ, covering events in the publishing industry.

"A Heartless Romance" originally published at
Copyright John Edward Lawson
Artwork Remedios Varo

1 comment:

J WILSON said...

'As draining as a funeral service.' I like... Nice work John.