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The Seer MAG
I knew the feel of hearts. My love’s heart was soft and tasted like the smooth skin of ripe cherries. It felt like the white silk rippling against her cool skin when she stood by the open window at dawn.
I stood alone by the window and weighed my love’s soft, beating heart in my palm, warm and alive like a bird in a nest.
A baker was singing as he kneaded in preparation for the morning. His hearty tones filled his kitchen before barreling up and down the street.
The tabernacle windows were bright beneath the church steeple down the road. As my eyes swept back down the street, I glimpsed a man smoking in a frame of curtains. His careless fingers tapped the windowsill; dislodged and confused ashes scattered over the petals of window box flowers. His burnished eyes were intent.
We both stood at open windows, he and I. But I was watching him, and he wasn’t watching me. His heart was firm and shut tight like a mussel shell. I took a moment to murmur to it, while his hands, rough and stained from mechanic’s work, gripped the windowsill.
His woman was leaving him. But his heart did not ache at the thought. It shut away from the possibility that he could keep her: as assuredly as his cigarette would become smoke and ash, until he held a stub.
The man in the window wasn’t happy with himself. But he’d shut away the unhappiness; he wouldn’t acknowledge it. We both stood beside windows, this man and I. But while I was watching him, he chose not to see me.
Distant voices wandered to my ears. Two men were arguing in the spot where alley meets road, a spot bothered only by occasional footsteps. One man held a package; the other carried a troubled heart whose uneven beating quaked at my touch.
The baker began a new song.
In another alleyway, a young man and woman leaned against the brick, sharing a day-old bagel from a paper bag. The man was crying, softly through his eyes and heavily in his heart. His mother had died a few hours before. His heart stretched out to me and tried to wrap itself around my arm.
Some warmth. Some warmth. Please.
The man shifted closer to his companion. But her heart was dry and crumbly like the stale bread she nibbled. She pitied him for his sick mother, but she could never love a boy like him. She was planning to break it off after the funeral; she wouldn’t encourage him any more.
I turned from the window. The cool breeze played with the delicate hairs at the nape of my neck, but I’d seen enough. I’d become immersed and lost myself. I often did. Each life taught me a teacup of a world more about the people I lived with.
My wife stirred again. Soon she’d notice the absence of my warmth at her side and miss me; soon she’d wake up.
My footsteps were drops of rain as I tiptoed to her side. When I returned her heart, it rolled from my palm and settled eagerly in her chest. As it left me, it took something with it.
A seer treads with bare feet, a seer is the passing of wisdom to humans. But a seer does not stay in one place or get involved. Doesn’t love or become loved. Does not marry.
I’d broken all the rules. But I’d have to leave before she woke up, before I could imagine the expression that would change her face when she understood I was gone. Or I wouldn’t be able to go.
My love sighed in her sleep, and a single tear rolled down my cheek. It was light as dew and heavy as the churning sea. As I’d returned her heart, she’d taken something from me.
It was a curious feeling. She’d taken my heart.
Opening the door, I felt a chill, but the draft was internal. The door clicked as I shut my heart behind me, stepping into the dark and empty hallway.
I knew the feel of hearts. Some were rigid, and some were pliant. And many were unaware of my touch.