I had decided a long time ago that I’d resist with all my might if Love, with her frilly blue summer dress and large red handbag, tried her routine on me. I’d seen her at restaurants, movie theaters, sidewalks, parks, everywhere. I’d seen what she indiscriminately did to the people she encountered, and I always watched on with curious disgust. Her surgical precision, their apparent indifference; it confused and appalled me. The way she smiled as she approached her victim and pulled a scalpel from her bag. Some of them unbuttoned their shirt to make it easier for her to cut open their chest and take out their heart. I was always surprised at how bloodless the entire affair was, even as she stitched them back up and walked away with their heart in her bag. You’d think there’d be more blood.
I knew she’d come for me some day. I was leaving from a date with a girlfriend I’d been seeing for a few months. I usually kept relationships to three to four months in order to keep Love the hell away from me, and I had every intention of ending this one soon enough. She had dazzlingly blue eyes and a mess of freckles, and we’d quickly hit it off at a party thanks to a friend of a friend of a friend. She had radiant smile...I think that’s what did me in.
I left her place around one in the morning, and I hailed a cab and absentmindedly entered. Love was sitting in the seat next to me. I looked at her with intense disappointment.
“It’s finally time” she said.
I shook my head, “I’m not giving it to you.”
She smiled, “That’s not how this works.”
I saw her hand reach for her bag, and I panicked. I grabbed her wrist and pulled her bag towards me. She looked at me, amused, and did nothing to stop me as I told the cab driver to stop. I fished some money out of my pocket and paid him before exiting with the bag.
I ran, only turning around once; she was still sitting there, smiling at me.
You’d think I would’ve opened up that bag the second I got back to my apartment, but I put it off for days. I was anxious. I told myself I had a lot of things to do, and seeing the contents would distract me. I put the bag in my coat closet, thinking that if I couldn’t see it, it wouldn’t bother me. I ended up just staring at the coat closet. Finally I couldn’t take it any longer; I looked. Inside were hearts, dozens of them, with name tags on each and every one. I decided to make it a mission to return them all.
Of course, even after surmounting the astronomical challenge of finding the owners of these hearts, things didn’t go my way. Every single one of the owners turned down their own heart. Most of them wouldn’t talk to me after I showed them. The last one, though, looked at me with grave intent.
“Give it back to her” he said.
I asked him why. He smirked.
“We’re a sad bunch, us humans. The organ that keeps us going is the very same one that is meant to be stolen. It’s cruel. Monstrously cruel. But I’ve seen the things that can steal your heart, and most of them are terrible, terrible creatures. Most of these creatures will horde your heart like a prize. Love is one of the good ones. Give it back to her.”
Not long afterwards I saw Love waiting in a cab. Timidly, I sat down next to her and pushed the bag towards her.
“You’ve returned!” she said.
I nodded, my head sagging in defeat.
“Look up at me” she said.
I looked up just in time to see her kiss me on the cheek.
“Everything’s going to be alright.”
I smiled nervously as she pulled out her scalpel.