Writer’s Corner: Heart Trouble
Margo Coeur was shopping at the supermarket one morning when she experienced a small but significant incident. A little girl–probably no more than three years old–ran up to her mother, who was concentrating on which jar of jelly she would place in her cart. She tugged at her mother’s coat and started jumping up and down, and as loud as her voice would carry, screamed, “Mommy, Mommy! A little boy just smiled at me!!”
Margo thought to herself, “What am I hearing? When does this start? Does this sweet little child know that this is the beginning of a lifetime quest?”
When Margo returned to her office later that day, she sat down on her swivel chair, turned it to an angle facing her calendar, and focused her thoughts on another little girl at another time.
Each Valentine’s was observed by all the boys and girls with the exchanging of cards, drawings, and poems. Margo was just as excited about giving as well as expecting to receive these treats. She created little poems and drew stick figures holding hands. From construction paper, she pasted cards together in different shapes and colors. She was so shy that these little expressions of the feelings she had in her heart for her schoolmates were placed on their desks to avoid the closeness of handing them out.
Rarely did anyone give anything to Margo. Was it because she was the tallest kid in the class…even taller than the boys? Was it because her face was full of freckles? Her mother said she didn’t smell. What was going on? Year after year, she dreaded February 14th.
Once, in 7th grade, she did get a note (not a card). It was from Larry Miller, and all it said was, “To Margo, from the bottom of my four-chambered blood pump.” She also remembered that after 3 o’clock, in the school yard, the fattest boy in the entire school (Danny Fox) gave her a handful of candy hearts—the kind that had sayings on them. She thought, I don’t care if he’s fat. She loved the happy feeling she was experiencing in her heart. Then she looked closely at the little candy hearts and saw that the sayings were all worn out, as though he licked each and every “Be my Valentine” and “I will love you forever” off the hearts before he gave them to her. This was the final insult. He spoiled Valentine’s Day for her forever. She hated him.
Margo discovered as a young woman that affairs of the heart were just not going to be part of her life. After two failed marriages, her heart just wasn’t in it. She envied Tony Bennett for years. At least he had two chances with two hearts—the one he carried with him and the one he left “in the city by the bay.”
Since her swivel chair was in the same position, she was able to see her schedule and realized it was time for her first appointment of the afternoon. She buzzed her receptionist and said, “This is Dr. Coeur, Jane. You can tell Daniel Fox he can come into my office now so we can arrange for the date and time I will be able to perform his open-heart surgery.”