Excerpt: That Which is Close (to Your Heart)

I wasn’t born a cynic, but naivety is too easy to lose. 

When I was eight, my great aunt gave me a training bra and underwear set for my birthday. The underwear was too lacy (itchy) for my taste, but the bra was a delicate ivory, with wide straps, a crewneck, and a sequined, cream-colored flower right in the middle.

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Leilani Graham
X & Why

It is easy to quantify my life in numbers.

I am twenty-five. I've had four cardiac arrests.

There were three extra open-heart surgeries following my transplant: because my new heart initially failed.

I've been the vessel for two hearts.

I've coded once.

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FAQs - Part One

1. So, you got the whole thing replaced? Or just, like part of it?
2. Will you be on meds forever?
3. What is a heart biopsy?
4. Will you need another heart?
5. Do you know anything about your donor?
6. BUT YOU'RE SO YOUNG!?
7. Wow, so you're better now?

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Twenty-Six

Do yourself a favor. Stop what you are doing. Find a quiet place. Close the door. If it is night when you are reading this, take a toke, pour one out, or just affix your noise-cancelling Bose headphones to the forgotten inner vestiges of you and absorb.

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Ephemeral

I thought I would no longer sweat the small stuff. I scoffed at the idea that I would still be too afraid to approach anyone remotely out of my league. I thought I would be more assertive, less accommodating, and so, so grateful. I thought a lot of things.

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Dream A Little Different: Part Three

So here's a toast to the hard part; the sticky part. The part of me that will not try to find the silver lining. That will not stray away from saying the things that are hard to say. For once I won't even try to be grateful. I will not see the bigger picture or find peace in the consolation prize that is being alive.

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Words.

INT. CLINIC ROOM - DAY SCENE: A STIFF, METAL CHAIR WITH TAN VINYL BACK AND SEAT. SUBJECT (MID-20S, FEMALE) SITS… EYES GAZE UP AND BEGIN SLOWLY PANNING THE ROOM SHE HAS OCCUPIED A HUNDRED TIMES BEFORE.

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Waverly.

It's a 17 minute drive from the home I was raised in, if I don't make the lights. It can be 14 minutes if I do. The signs say 35, but no one will cop you for going two to three ticks above forty. There's a small hill at the base of the diverge and if you take it quickly something in you smiles a little.

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