Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Replacement.

Title and Registration - Death Cab for Cutie

The Replacement.

“When it’s over will I feel the same?” I ask the man standing in the lobby with a clipboard in his left hand. He smiles and points me in the direction of the small window of reception. When I wait for a response he keeps pointing and smiling. I want to cry but it isn’t his fault.

The small window shows the face of an eager receptionist. She’s answering a multi-line phone system and motioning for me to take a seat in the waiting room. I don’t want to wait and tell her I can wait with a whisper. She shrugs and continues to ignore my response. No one here wants to help. No one here really cares. I wonder if this is how it will be afterwards, but this doesn’t stop me from wanting to do this.

The TV in the waiting room has a man telling me about the benefits of replacement. He tells me that every nine times out of ten a patient will go on to live a happy life filled with love once again. He tells me that there’s nothing wrong in wanting a new start. Tells me how simple the procedure is. No more difficult than popping out a burnt out light bulb and putting in a new one. There are testimonials of people who have successfully replaced their broken hearts. I want to reach over and turn off the TV but I don’t. Instead I listen to the wife who is leading a successful life filled with love after the divorce of her husband thanks to her replacement.  The pictures on the TV show a widower smiling instead of grieving over his wife’s death. He’s been joyfully living his life and able to carry on with a new heart.

Happy instead of sad. Smiles instead of Frowns. Laughter instead of anger. Giggles instead of tears. There’s no need for the harmful pain that life hands you. You can just cut it out and put in a new part. Simple as that.

The consultation goes better than the waiting room. The doctor asks more questions and attempts to find a way to avoid the one question I can’t stop asking. At the end of our chat he reassures me that there’s nothing wrong with what I’m doing as he stands and waves me over to the door. His voice dips as he leans to turn the knob. He thanks me before telling me “that more people would find closure” if they did this while shaking my hand over and over again. Between his overbearing smile and my uneasy stomach I muster enough courage to ask him once again “Will I feel the same?”

The doctor lets go of my hand and motions me back to the desk. His smile is replaced by a more complicated look as he insists I take a seat. His wall of diploma’s and certificates seem small and cheap as I make my way over to the desk once again. Without stepping in front of the desk he walks over to the window and looks down before speaking.  
“The heart is a powerful instrument in the human body and capable of so much love. There is nothing you can change about that. I can replace how you feel right now. I can take away the pain that is breaking your heart by giving you a new one.”
“Then I will feel different afterwards?”
“You will not feel the same afterwards. There has to be a change. A brief moment where we say it’s a bit like passing a torch. We do not like to emphasize this with our clients. It is understood that you will be different on another level. But this is not… You should not let that stop you from making this decision.”
“And if I won’t feel this way about him anymore will be able to fall in love again?”
“Of course. Most definitely you will fall in love again. That isn’t negotiable. I wouldn’t be in this business if I couldn’t promise that. That is guaranteed.”
“Thank you. I think I’m ready.”
“That’s quite alright. You’re schedule to come in on Thursday for replacement.”

The morning of the surgery comes and sits before me. The offices are filled with activity and new prospective clientele. The same man in the lobby stands pointing with his clipboard. I nod and move toward reception where I’m guided to the prep area.

There are three of us in the prep area. Across from me, a woman waits with her daughter. A girl that sits with her sad face in her hands. I can imagine the puffy red eyes swollen from the tears. The sniffles are still fresh in her nose. The girl couldn’t be more than a teenager of sixteen. Maybe seventeen. I can’t imagine why someone so young would want to change how they feel. It would be over soon. The grief will pass without much harm. How painful could the first love be? I thought of my own first love many years before and realized that I’m faced with my own choice as well. Will losing one mean losing them all? The same thought runs through my mind again and again as the nurse opens the door to motion for me to come. Come meet the table. Meet the surgeon. Meet your new fate. I nod at the woman and girl before heading back.

They say you die when your heart stops beating. Even just for a moment you die a little. It’s as if you are a new person reborn when it starts up again. Rebirth that washes away the past and pushes you toward something new. And as I wake up I realize there is something new beating in my chest. A new feeling that exists and it is there without question. A strong enough passion for life and in the same feeling a sense that I lost something I loved. A love that no longer lives in my new heart and there’s nothing left of it.

The replacement. I once questioned the notion of replacing ones heart with another after it breaks. Just like a light bulb. Pop. Interesting idea. But what good would come of it? Heartbreak. Grief. Suffering. We are human and we are meant to endure the pain that life hands us. It can not be avoided. You can avoid it, but what good will that do. It is there and must be endured to some extent. There are limits to our own suffering though. We control them and must find a way to move ahead. I think it shows great courage in a person to face the pain and endure than to run from it.  Enjoy. Kisses. m.

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