Glass hearts

I was at a gift shop last weekend when I saw some tiny red glass hearts for $1 each, so I bought three. One was for a girl in my Creative Writing class who wrote a poem last year titled “Glass Hearts.” The others were for someone else. I don’t know who yet.

This morning I left one on the table with a note for my mom because she makes glass. She likes to make glass magnets with my kids and they give them away as gifts. In the note I suggested she try making some heart magnets for Valentine’s Day.

The glass heart I’d left her was still on the table when I got home from work after she’d picked up my kids and taken them to spend the night at her house. Here was her written response:

“Hearts are hard to cut. This looks like a mold.”

Well, that’s fine, but she really didn’t have to take my suggestion like it was some kind of literal assignment. I’m only saying that artists sometimes think seasonally and glassmakers might want to do something along the lines of hearts or pink sometime over the next month and a half. Who knows? It could be profitable, or not.

I’ll probably suggest that people write love stories or greeting cards to exchange like fortune cookies and they’ll say, “No, I could never do that. I only write about homicidal zombies.”

Well, I may be getting older, but I do know that zombies get their hearts broken, too.

My daughter, who is almost 8, considered keeping the glass heart I was planning to leave for my mother this morning. I discovered it was missing while we were eating pop tarts and bananas before the sun came up.

“Where did that heart go?” I asked. “Did you take it?”

She smiled and put it back on the table.

“I just thought it was pretty,” she said.

I told her about how, two years ago, a girl wrote a great poem titled “Glass Hearts” for our school literary magazine. Then last year, another girl, totally unrelated to the first, wrote a different poem with the same title.

The first poem was about vulnerability, but other than that, it was deliberately vague. The second poem was about love.

So I keep meaning to give one of the glass hearts to the second poet because the first has gone off to college. I meant to give Glass Heart Poet No.2 the heart souvenir at a meeting today after school, but I had to cancel the meeting because I thought I had lost my keys and was in a temporary panic.

I came home to an empty house with a glass heart and a note from my mom on the table. My husband was in the garage trying to sell an old truck to a guy on Craigslist who was in the process of standing him up, and my husband wasn’t very happy about it.

We were supposed to go to dinner and look at some new rugs tonight, or at least that was my idea, but he just kept slamming around in the kitchen fuming about the Craigslist loser.

How a con artist’s playground like Craigslist managed to take down the entire newspaper industry, I’ll never understand.

But anyway, my husband was just sure that I couldn’t be on his side for one minute even if I was only trying to console him with the fact that at least he had only lost a little time, sort of, but not any money. He just got angrier and angrier and I started imagining Bono saying how he can’t keep holding on to what you’ve got when all you’ve got is hurt, so I left and went to the movies alone.

I sat there by myself in 10-year-old jeans watching this pretty musical starring Emma Stone with crimson lips and Ryan Gosling. It was about love and regret.

I got the idea to see that movie because I told some of my students to write reviews this weekend and one girl said she was going to review that movie. Plus it happened to be starting right when I got to the theater, so it was obviously meant to be.

I read an article not too long ago that said people tend to avoid eating and going to movies alone because they often underestimate how much they will enjoy it. A lot of people are afraid of being alone. I must be one of them. I must really value companionship and security because I’ve created a life in which I’m almost never alone.

My husband was in his recliner looking dejected when I got home. He didn’t make eye contact when I came through the door.

So for two years in a row, girls I know have written about glass hearts. Now I just need to get a boy to write about his glass heart. I have one working on a heartbreak memoir now. He’s been at it for two and half weeks and I’m awaiting the final product. I am not one of those pushy editors who demands 700 words every 45 minutes. We were all out of our minds and overcaffeinated in the days when I dealt in column inches. We often got so angry we’d have shouting matches under the florescent lights at 2 o’clock in the morning. But we were so young. Now our pain is not 20-something angst but the grudging acceptance of midlife.

Still, we know better than to complain too much.

Before we knew each other, my husband wrote a newspaper column about being single on Valentine’s Day. A dancer from one of the little nightclubs up in Martinsburg, WV, brought a rose to the newspaper office for him. To me, the best part of that story was the idea that those tiny dancers read the newspaper. I like to think they looked for his column every Sunday.

I’ll keep working on getting the boys to write their tragic love stories. If nothing else, it’s a good way to meet chicks.

For now, I’m just a woman with a glass heart on the kitchen table and two in her desk at work.



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