My heart is like a magnetar, dense and heavy and a thousand times magnetized.
Four weeks from this day I will board a flight to the far away field location. I will have no phone, no lights, no motor car – ok, we do have a satellite phone for emergencies but not much else. Our sole luxury is the outhouse we are taking with us. Stacks of long underwear, socks, field pants, and equipment are growing in the front parlor. This is remote field research.
My heart is heavier every hour. I look at the WideEyedSpouse and I think, I won’t see you for weeks and weeks. I pet the dogs and I worry – will you be ok while I’m gone? Wiggins the Ancient Cat creaks by, I fret, will you be alive when I come home?
The weight in my chest is a coalescence of the open wide joy of learning that I was going to have a funded research program this summer. As the time for leaving grows closer, the plane tickets purchased, the boat charters paid, my happy heart tripping transforms to a sullen, weighty thunk.
I know from past summers that this heart weight will increase. That I will be walking and talking and acting normal but this density lump in my chest will work to hold me in place. I’ll feel it sagging in the pericardium, threatening to rip through and plummet past my stomach to my knees, my feet, the floor.
When the WideEyedSpouse drives me to the airport, the Pathfinder loaded down with crates and duffles and neutron star hearts, I’ll feel breathless. When I turn and walk into the airport, dragging my burdens with me, my magnetar heart will strain toward its lodestone as he drives away. When the plane takes off, I’ll feel it struggling, pulling to the ground, desperately reaching, trying to keep me home.
Then…snap. The plane will level off and there will be no turning back. Magentar heart changes to neutron star heart, becomes tripping wide open joy heart and the pericardium can’t hold in the radiant glow of a well loved job. This transformation is heart denial, and a simple, true trust that I’ll head back to the lodestone in the coming months.