Beyond the Western
Matters of the Heart
Scott A. Gese

Image Source: Mgribbon / Pixabay

It’s been recently discovered that hearts have brain cells. Because of this, strange things can happen to those who receive a new heart.

Beyond the Western

Zig Waller thought he had life by the tail. A great job, a beautiful wife and retirement right around the corner. Everything seemed to be going his way.

Then out of the blue, without so much as a warning sign, his wife of thirty-six years suffered a sudden stroke. She didn’t survive.

That was a year ago.

Zig didn’t take it well. His heart had been broken both mentally and physically. Now here he was on a gurney being wheeled down a hospital corridor toward an operating room for a heart transplant.

What a difference a year makes.

The operation went well. It was a success as most transplants are these days. After a two week hospital stay, Zig was back home. He took it easy for several months as he recuperated.

Having another persons heart in his body took some getting used to. During his down time he began to notice some strange occurrences taking place with his memory.

He was warned about this, but until he had to deal with it first hand, he didn’t fully understand what it would be like.

Flashes of scenes from a past he didn’t recall kept popping into his head. As did the names of people he never knew. It was happening so often he began to keep a journal as they came to him. If he hadn’t been warned about this, he would have thought he was going crazy.

What was happening intrigued him. He did some of his own online investigating into this phenomenon. He read several stories of heart transplant patients taking on habits and cravings of the heart’s previous owner.

One particular morning he woke up with a strong craving for a Starbucks Americano with cream. He hated Starbuck’s coffee, At least, he used to.

The urge was too great to ignore and he finally gave in. He hopped into his car and drove, not to the closest one, but to one all the way across town. He didn’t know why. He just felt like that was the one he needed to go to. When he walked in, the place felt very familiar. He couldn’t explain it.

He walked up to the counter to order. The name on the badge of the young woman who waited on him was Lisa Mae.

The name seemed familiar “Lisa Mae, Lisa Mae, Where have I heard that name before?” He racked his brain trying to remember. Then it hit him. “Lisa Mae. It’s one of the names on my list.”

He ordered his drink and sat down at a corner table. While he drank his coffee, he pulled out the journal he had been working on as he thought of some of the other names on his list.

He noticed Lisa kept taking quick glances in his direction as she worked. Finally, after about twenty minutes of exchanging quick glances, they both felt like they were being watched by the other. Zig was beginning to feel uncomfortable, so he decided to leave.

As he got up, Lisa walked over to his table. “Do I know you?” She asked. “I keep getting this weird feeling that we’ve met before but I can’t figure out where. I don’t mean to bother you, I just felt like I needed to ask before you got out the door.”

“I don’t think so,” replied Zig. “I’ve never been in here before.” As he was about to continue out the door, he hesitated. “You might find this a little weird, but I knew your name before I came in here. Let me ask you a question.” Zig picked a name from his list. “Do you know a man named Charley Barba?”

Lisa’s eyes grew wide and the color drained from her face. Then she turned red and became irritated. “Is this some kind of a joke or something? Are you stalking me? Who the hell are you?” Lisa wanted answers.

Zig decided he had better sit back down and explain himself. “I’m sorry if I’ve upset you. Please let me explain. My name is Zig Waller. You don’t know me, and no I’m not stalking you.

I had a heart transplant several months ago and ever since, I’ve had these strange cravings. This morning I felt I needed a cup of coffee at this particular shop. I don’t know why. On top of that, several names keep popping into my head. Names I’ve never heard of. Yours, Charley Barba and someone named Jack Masson. Do you know either of these people?”

Lisa felt her knees grow weak as Zig mentioned the names. She sat down at the table with him.

Jack Masson is my Uncle, my dad’s brother. Charley Barba. He died about four months ago. His heart was donated for transplant. He was my father.

© Copyright 2019 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.