Hearts And Minds

Entry by: ben schofield

4th November 2016
Heart and Minds

It’s a terrible thing when a door suddenly opens on you naked. It gets worse if you are nude together with someone else. Worse still is when the door opens and the person you're naked with isn't your wife. And the worst is when your wife is the one opening the door.

When you embark on something like this you can't help but imagine the consequences. The exact moment when it all comes crashing down. You expect screaming, you expect crying, you expect fighting, you expect running away. I wasn't prepared for silence.

Rachel stands stunned her mouth agape but nothing coming out. She is still clutching the door handle with one hand. I’m grasping at the sheets trying to cover myself and Jessica’s naked bodies. Her eyes are frozen wide in confusion and disbelief. Still she doesn’t make a sound. I want to say this isn’t what it looks like. But it’s exactly what it looks like.

Rachel’s wide eyes dart around the room trying to capture the scene. Perhaps looking for something that will make it all untrue. Evidence to support her disbelief. She looks from my crumpled jeans on the floor, to the fallen pictures on the dresser, to a half-eaten fruit platter and finally to Jessica’s curves partly covered by the blanket.

I’m looking into her eyes, trying to see if her heart is breaking. My heart is pounding in my chest and I’m wondering if it is going to try and quit on me again.


One year ago doctors diagnosed me with severe aortic stenosis. I remember Rachel crying beside me and asking what it meant and what we do now. The doctor explained that basically the valves in my heart had narrowed and I required some new ones. Between her sobs he advised that they needed to open me up. Open heart surgery. At that point Rachel completely broke down. The doctor politely offered some tissues from his desk. I tried my best to alleviate the mood.

“Just because I have a few new parts in my heart, doesn’t mean I will love her any less. Right doc?”

Smiling he tried to play along as he explained that there is no love in the heart, or anyone’s heart. It is all the brain. All the mind. Fluctuations in chemical balances, dopamine levels, etc. The heart is a muscle like a bicep or a tongue just a different role. It is just a pump. Blood in, blood out. All day every day.

Two weeks later they opened me up and I was the proud owner of a brand new bio-prosthetic heart valve. Rachel wasn’t crying anymore.

Some weeks later I noticed things were changing. The first sign was at breakfast. Practically every Sunday morning of our marriage Rachel would cook bacon and eggs. But ever since the operation it just didn’t taste the same. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was wrong with the bacon. Overcooked? Undercooked? Too salty? I started to think maybe her cooking was terrible all along but it was love tricking the receptors in my taste buds.

And then I started noticing Jessica. She lived next door. I never noticed how beautiful she looked. I used to watch her from the kitchen window. She would walk about in the field picking flowers or mushrooms or anything that took her fancy. Her carefree spirit was so alluring.

In beginning I would wait until Rachel was asleep so I could sneak out to meet her. We would sit up all night together. I would talk and she would listen. I’d run my hand over her head and down her back. It would go on like this for months. I knew it was terribly wrong, but I just couldn’t help myself. Like something inside me just compelled me to be with her. I still loved Rachel, but I loved Jessica more. Every moment I was separated I was thinking about her. I could’ve sworn my heart was beating just for her.

But we pushed our luck too far. I should have never brought her over. Rachel didn’t deserve this. It was an insult to take her into our marital bed. I didn’t want anyone to get hurt. I expected Rachel to be away all weekend, not opening the bedroom door at 3pm in the afternoon.


Rachel is still silent. I need to break the stand off, so I begin


But the sound prompts Rachel in action

“Why is there a pig in our bed?”

Her voice escalates in volume and anger.

“And why are you naked?!!”

There is no point in trying to deny or explain the situation. She won’t understand why Jessica, the neighbour’s prize sow, is in our bed. I can’t explain that even though she is 300kg I think she is beautiful. And I definitely can’t tell her that we are in love.

Even I could barely comprehend it until recently. But as the doctor explained before my operation, when replacing heart valves it is quite a common practice to use pig valves as the replacements.

And the heart wants what the heart wants.
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