The Fifth Chamber of the Heart (retooled a bit)

I begged him, "please tell me again how it feels."

"I can only describe it as a purring," he said of the slurry of snow falling inside his ribcage. He swallowed again. And then, "maybe it's more a feathered butterfly. It's hard to say." It apparently had begun, this snowstorm, two weeks before, in the middle of a blue-note night when he dropped his glass trumpet, which twice bounced back up to his hands before shattering.

Magenta smoke swirled over his head as he chased the last drop of warmth around the bottom of the shot glass before he stumbled outside and disappeared into a snowless night. I thought he might come back and purr some more for me, but after hours unblinking (four of them if my memory is reliable**) and watching the empty door, it too disappeared as I shrugged into my jacket, climbed the back stairs and watched bats dive through the floor.

. . .

** Memories, when stored in muscular tissue as opposed to the CNS, are quitely reliable. Take, for instance, the memory of squeezing the heart for the first time in your hands. You remember, don't you, the tense zing of that first electrical impulse tensing then dissolving as impulse became past tense and squirreled itself away in the fifth chamber of the heart?

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