Van Goghian Gift

He grew the heart in a petri dish from his own stem cells from various locations, heart cells, a few other tricks thrown in for good measure, then cut and sutured up his chest left of center, making sure to leave a wicked looking scar, with a small chip implanted to produce sound effects. The heart, safely gift-wrapped in a box, beat time, once a second, regulated by a pacemaker, creating an organic clock that could possibly outlive him, provided it was cared for, fed, cleaned, and so forth. The scenario in his head ran something like this: he’d present her the box with his heart, remove his shirt and explain that he could not live without her and so decided to give her his heart, that he’d replaced his own with a mechanical device, and if she’d only lean against his chest she might hear the ticking.

Repulsed by the very thought of what she held in her hands, she dropped the box with the beating heart and ran, sobbing, from the room. The heart, dislodged from its governing device, began to race. He struggled to reattach the guide wires, to sync the organic gift to the electric signals. Faster and faster the heart beat out of control, expanded, and finally burst into disorganized muscle cells, each piece twitching on its own until they expended themselves. Clutching his heart pieces, he could only rock back and forth on the floor, wondering where he’d gone wrong. How could she possibly not accept his heart?

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