BY LYDIA A. CYRUS
The heart has four chambers; everyone seems to be aware of that. I was a star anatomy student in high school. So good that I finished my work, my dissections, early and read Vonnegut while everyone else struggled. When it came to the body I understood—I understand—how things works. I also understand how things go wrong. Go bump, go bang! Go bust! Chemicals and blood cells, those gnarly little bastards, slip through their pathways but they don’t always get where they’re meant to go. The heart has four chambers: Two atria and two ventricles, left and right.
I have stopped talking to people in general. Only small conversations now. I don’t want to be tethered to any place, thing, or person right now. The place where my four chambers should be is hard to locate. Once in middle school my sixth grade science teacher was concerned over my resting heart rate. It’s not normal. Around the same time I started begging my parents to take me to therapy. My mother told me to pack a bag and that she’d take me off to the local mental institution. She said I’ll leave you there.
Prozac changes the balance of chemicals, all anti-depressants do, that’s their job. When I took it, I slept every free moment I had and I lost close to twenty pounds. My mother loved it when I took Prozac because I never said a word to her. I never contested anything or asked for anything. When I am depressed I say nothing. Nothing to nobody. I’ve tried to convince myself that I love other people and that I want them. Then I lie in bed at night and turn off the lamp and I understand I am alone and I love no one, not even myself. There are no working chambers in my heart, not one or two. None.
I could live with one faulty chamber. I can live with loss because I do already. Because I sleep too little and too much already. Should more than one chamber fall well that will be two too many. When the lamp goes out at night, I can’t help by think that I want to be utterly alone for the rest of my life. There is no need to have any other stressors to offset the path in which my cells flow. My heart, it seems, has only three chambers.
Lydia A. Cyrus is a creative nonfiction writer and poet from Huntington, West Virginia. Her work as been featured in Thoreau's Rooster, Adelaide Literary Magazine, The Albion Review, and Luna Luna. Her essay "We Love You Anyway," was featured in the 2017 anthology Family Don't End with Blood which chronicles the lives of fans and actors from the television show Supernatural.
She lives and works in Huntington where she spends her time being politically active and volunteering. She is a proud Mountain Woman who strives to make positive change in Southern Appalachia. She enjoys the color red and all things Wonder Woman related! You can usually find her walking around the woods and surrounding areas as she strives to find solitude in the natural world. Twitter: @lydiaacyrus