“…I played a while on my lute
and could not kill anything.” ~ D. Bonta
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also, reads the passage engraved upon a pillar in the Church of the Holy Cross.
Long past midnight, the phone rings and I hear it as if from far away; but think it must be a dream so I don’t get up to answer. Sometime at midday, I remember to look at the list of missed calls. There is a voice mail message from my mother, but when I play it all I can hear are strange voices that sound like they’re coming from a noontime TV variety show called Eat Bulaga. A woman has just won the prize in a raffle; there’s thunderous clapping, the unctuous voice of the TV host saying how happy he is at this good fortune. My mother says she says she didn’t call, though she’d been thinking of me, missing me and her granddaughters; there is a two- or three- second delay, then she’s crying from the pain of having to live all alone at her age.
It’s said that even as a baby, Chopin was moved to tears by his mother’s singing.
His sister Ludwika cried after crossing the border back into Poland, when the woman who had helped to smuggle her brother’s heart back into the country of his birth, handed it to her in a glass jar tied up in a cloth bag and hidden under layers of her petticoats.
Recently I read a story about a woman who held her old heart in her hands after a successful surgical transplant: the photo showed her cradling what looked like papier mache, like folds of stiff, marble-colored parchment; or like a large shell washed up on the beach. Its curves reminded me of the outer lobes of the ear, which must have some bearing on why we still refer to phone handsets as receivers, even though most of the new technology has done away with all those curves.