Friday, April 16, 2010

Will U B Mine

You’ve probably read about this phenomenon: sometimes when people get heart transplants, in addition to inheriting a healthier cardiac muscle, they inherit memories, cravings, predispositions.

A 47-year-old man received a heart from a teenaged girl who’d had an eating disorder. He began to feel nauseated after eating and developed a tendency to giggle. When an eight-year-old girl received the heart of a 10-year-old girl who’d been murdered, the recipient developed nightmares that eventually led to her donor’s killer.

Memory is not solely the domain of the brain. Hearts have neurons. Every cell, in fact, has memory. When a memory is loaded with emotion, it makes sense that it gets stored in the heart.

Try remembering with your heart. Here’s what it felt like for me: Heart led to Valentine’s, Valentine’s led to a memory of cards exchanged with kids in grade school (Be Mine, I Luv U, etc). From there it was a short trip to remembering the boxes we brought to school for the cards to be deposited in.

In my school there was always a contest for the best Valentine’s box. I always won, because my dad spent days, sometimes weeks, shamelessly constructing them for me. The only one I clearly remembered was a shimmering gold and red Viking ship. But when I turned my heart loose on the memory it, just like that, unearthed a pirate’s treasure chest covered with hearts, brimming with cards.

Aye, mateys. The heart remembers.

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