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The Heartbeat Effect

I wasn’t sure how I felt about this.


You know, being here at her house with no one around. It’s not that I didn’t trust her; it’s that I didn’t trust myself. Not in dangerous sense but more of a “holy s*** man, keep it together” sort of way.

She hopped down on the couch and turned her eyes to the TV where a Disney movie was playing. I think it’s Lilo and Stitch but I’m not sure because I’m only listening to the audio. Instead I’m watching my hands and wondering how I ended up here.

“You okay?” Her voice jolts me to life. I look up at her soft face and nod fastidiously. We’ve had history together and she knows when I’m lying; thankfully, I’ve gotten better at it since we split up.

“I’m fine,” I tell her.

Aria shifts her gaze back to the movie but I’m staring blankly at the space above her head. I’m listening to her heartbeat and I notice that it’s calm and collected just like it always is. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

I’m not sure because I’m still in love with Aria, despite all the s*** we’ve been through. When we broke up it wasn’t the end of the world…at the time. But after about three girlfriends I knew what my problem with keeping a relationship was and the answer wasn’t because I didn’t like their mothers.

With someone who has a ‘gift’, it’s hard to concentrate on reality and seeing the things the way they really are. In reluctance, I’ve managed to stay close to Aria without gnawing at her knees like a lost puppy. I don’t plan on it, either. She deserves more than that.

The thing is, I can hear things really well. I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but one morning I woke up to the sound of the toaster springs popping up my brother’s bread. I also heard the sound of my father’s snoring from two stories away. So you can only imagine how frustrating it is to hear the regular heartbeat of your ex whenever you’re around her.

Like nothing ever happened.

Like I never gave her butterflies or made her stomach leap into her shoes like she said it did.

I think I have a moment of flickering insanity. There’s a strange feeling I get in my gut when I look at her; thankfully I can’t hear myself because I’d go deaf with all these weird flips my stomach is doing. Out of absolutely nowhere I take her hand and she looks at me in a strange way.

“Luke?” She asks.

I don’t say anything.

Because her heartbeat is normal.




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