THROUGH THE HEART Excerpt:
“One learns people through the heart, not the eyes or the intellect.”
It happened on a Monday morning. It.
The thing we’re all looking for. Love. On a Monday morning.
My mother always called it heart-attack Monday because more people have heart attacks on Mondays than on any other day. (She loved to share cheerful little facts like that with me.)
So it was strangely fitting that it happened then, since love is a kind of heart attack. I’m sure it hurts as much as one sometimes— and the pain lasts for a whole lot longer.
My mother was right about the statistics on heart-attack Monday, but when I looked it up online, even though my mother was right, I discovered that the second most likely time for a heart attack was Saturday morning. That made perfect sense to me—for some people the thought of going back to work on Monday was enough to bring on a heart attack. For others it was the thought of a whole two days at home with the family.
The second one sounded about right to me—especially when my mother told me for the bazillionth time that if I didn’t meet a man soon, I would be alone forever, because it was more likely that a woman would get murdered by terrorists than get married over the age of forty. She’d read that fact in Newsweek decades ago, and even though I told her that they’d gotten their facts wrong, she seemed to think that since it was in print it was the gospel truth.
Speaking of murders, Saturday also happens to be the day when the most murders are committed. But people tend to worry more about heart attacks than murder. The thing is, they both happen. The only difference is that one is something you can imagine, the other is beyond imagination. Murder is something that happens in the news, in horror movies, to other people—not something that might be a reality in your life. And if people do imagine getting murdered, it is usually by a serial killer or in a terrorist attack. But studies show that between 50 and 75 percent of murder victims know their killers.
In murder mysteries, to solve a murder we look to the past for clues. But if the clues are there in the past to be found, they must have been there all along—we just didn’t know how to read them.
My own personal heart attack happened on a Monday. And, right in line with all the statistics (which we often don’t like to think about—probably because we all become one at some point), it was on a Saturday that the dream ended.
What might be the strangest fact of all is that my best friend, Tammy, predicted them both. Sometimes I wonder: if I’d listened to her, would it have made a difference? And then I ask myself, would I go back and change it if I could?
Timothy: New York
There is no “happily ever after” here. Am I giving it away? I don’t think I am. I believe that all beginnings contain the end hidden within them. You can try to ignore it, but it’s there. The sadness is always tucked away within the happiness.
Maybe I’m a spoilsport. It certainly isn’t the worst thing that’s been said of me. Lots of people have called me a lot of things. They’ve called me cruel. They’ve called me unfeeling. They’ve called me dangerous. The worst thing you could throw at me? I’m sure I’ve heard it before, though I have to say that all the people who said those things were women. Does it make a difference? I don’t know. I just think it’s interesting.
But the women who said those things were right. All I can say is—you try growing up having everything. See how you turn out.
When I say I had everything, money is always the first thing people think of. Why do we make such a big deal about it? It’s just pieces of paper—even less real than pieces of paper. For most of us, dollars and cents are just numbers in a computer somewhere. But I grew up with a lot, and when I got old enough, I made more. Easily. Effortlessly. The money doubled and tripled.
It’s never just the money though. Since my father had money, he married a beautiful woman. I got her looks. Just a mistake of the genes, an accidental arrangement of features: this chin, that nose, those eyes. But the difference it makes—I think it might have more of an impact than money. It’s amazing the effect that a little bit of beauty has on people.
And just to complete the package, I had brains, too, and all the trappings that come with them: the Ivy League degree, Wharton MBA. I can even pull out the SAT scores, if you want to go that far back.
I know you’re probably thinking, “Oh poor little rich boy.” Believe me, I would dislike me too. But all these things we call blessings, I promise you, we have misnamed them, but we keep chasing after them, thinking they will give us what we want.
For me, there was only one thing I wanted—the only thing I didn’t have, couldn’t buy, and didn’t know how to get. Love. Real love. But how do you find that? How can you test it for genuine- ness? Is there a glass to test that diamond on?
A lot of people might think I wasn’t worthy of it, and I definitely had days when I would have had to agree with them. I wasn’t. But I found it. Or rather, it found me. And it found me in the last place I would ever have thought to look. It’s a miracle I even recognized it when I found it. But when I did recognize it, guess what I did? Everything I could to shake it. That’s what. You try finding real love and see if it doesn’t scare the hell out of you. You might even find that you would choose the same path I did. Judge at your own risk.
Police Report, The Hamptons, New York
Case number: 3462
Report: April 5
The call reporting the crime was logged at 10:27 a.m. It was placed from the location of the crime: a bed-and-breakfast. The dispatcher took the call and notified the nearest patrol car.
The patrol car arrived, and the two officers were directed to a room on the third floor. The body was lying in the four-poster bed, with a knife in its chest.
As soon as the officers established the death of the victim, they secured the scene, cordoning off the entire third floor. They also notified the precinct desk officer, who alerted the detective squad. All witnesses were identified and detained at the scene by the officers.
The crime scene unit arrived and started gathering the evi- dence. The medical examiner looked at the body and made an assessment.
Death was surmised to have been caused by a single blow that penetrated the heart.