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The news site of Staley High School

Staley News

The news site of Staley High School

Staley News

Essay: This Little Heart Of Mine

Leland+Samuel
Leland Samuel

This little heart of mine beats the rhythm of a drum. There is something sweet about a heartbeat. The soft, gentle, thump we hear within ourselves that occasionally reminds us of what we really are. A group of tissues and bones thrown together. Muscles encased in a skin that is the same as no one. All controlled by a group of cells located in the highest part of this meticulously crafted suit of armor. We are no more than anything else. No more than the sky, the grass, the ground. No more than the waves, the moon, or the sun. But while what I stated previously is true, another truth is that we are more than anything. We are the thing that can not only destroy everything, but also the thing that can create, save, or fix anything. We are not just a clump of cells so meticulously crafted, but a being with something that cannot truly be described by words. A soul.

Those little beats we hear we often take for granted. Before we are born, that beat means everything to someone. That little beat is a glimpse into the future. A peak at what is to come. Good or bad that beat has meaning… When I was born, my mother was so beyond devastated. Pregnancy was more than she could have ever imagined, and I was the breaking point. My mother was so lost. And although years later I understand her pain, I also envy my mother… My mother had so little hope that I could benefit her in any way that she wanted nothing less than to give birth to another child. And although it is extremely selfish of me to be upset at my mother, a young woman, just learning how to care for her first born, just learning the ways of being an adult. I somehow still hold a grudge to this day that my mother could hear this little heart of mine beat… and feel nothing other than dread.

The pills laid spilled all over her bed. Her heart beat pulsed by my tiny head. My father arrived soon after she lost consciousness. She held me in her arms as she gasped for what she thought would be her final breath… Was it her holding me in an attempt to take it back? Her pleading to me, a few month-old baby, to somehow reverse what she had done, and somehow breathe life back into her before she was gone? Or was it her holding me, being completely numb and lost. Holding me thinking “You are the reason. The reason I cannot bare to live yet another day”

Now, my mother is alive. She tells me each time we talk that “Everything you do impresses me, I love you” and while for a moment each time after she types those words, I believe it. I also remember everything… All of the pain this little heart of mine endured while longing for my mother. Longing to be loved by she who gave me life. Feeling pain every time I remember the day she left. Sometimes I wish more than anything, that the high from my unconditional love could feel better to her than the high she gets trying to escape the things she brought upon herself. Doing the exact thing that lost her “everything.” My mother claimed that she has no worse regret than leaving us. Although she is alive, to me my mother is gone. What is left is the shell of the woman that laid in the hospital bed and fought for her life after she had attempted to end it all. The shell of the woman that rebounded quicker than any star NBA player. She became the mother anybody would ask for, showing me what I believed was unconditional love, but now I see that it was her tying to find herself in me. But this little heart of mine could never fill the hole left by the dread she allowed to burn through her heart and into her mind.

A little Christian boy lays in his bed, sleeping soundly. He is woken by the pounding of drums out of his window. He gets up and looks out. All he can see is a line of human like figures, marching down the street. He screams for his parent’s but nobody comes. He turns back to the window, and to his surprise, Satan sat at the end of his driveway. His demons pounding huge drums. Warning the people of earth that he was here. I woke up, still hearing the pounding of those drums, when I looked out the window, into the dark night. I saw an empty road lit up by a dim street light. That pounding I heard in my sleep was no other than my little heart.

This nightmare came to me multiple times over the next few months. I’d attempt to stay awake as long as I could to avoid seeing it. Then one night as I stayed awake trying to force myself not to sleep. I began the hear the drums pound. I looked out of my window, half expecting this to be just another cycle of my horrid nightmare. But, I saw nothing. I sat down, listening to the loud thud, each beat sending more pressure to my head. After a minute or two, my vision began to blur. I called for my brother. On the top bunk of our bunk bed, he laid awake, frustrated by the sound of my little whimpers from the pain of each beat.

“Hayden… Please go get mom or dad. Something is wrong for real. I cant see.” He snapped back “It’s dark dude, of course you can’t see.” I stood up from the bed and took a few steps toward the door. As I opened it, I lost all sense of feeling in my body, and quickly after, my vision went black.

I awoke in the arms of my grandmother, as she was pleading to god to wake me up. I licked my lips to get the taste of blood off of my tongue and was met by the saltiness of her tears. My grandmother felt my pulse and warned my mother that my heart was beating at a rate that was in her mind no doubt a sign of a stroke. They rushed me to the hospital, the screeching of our tires and screams of my mother are the last thing I heard before I passed out.

My brother had heard me impact the ground, when he looked and saw that I laid motionless, he jumped from the top bunk of the bed over my motionless body. He pounded on my mother’s door, pleading that she come help. He didn’t believe me until it was too late.

I awoke to bright lights, needles stuck in my arm. Frightened I looked to my left, nothing but an empty, dark bathroom. I looked to my right, and saw my mother laying in my bed next to me. A smile filled my face, and I grabbed my mother’s arm and squeezed. My little arms couldn’t squeeze much but the squeeze woke my mother. Her words flew directly above my head, but I managed to make out, I thought I lost you.

This scary moment was just one of so many… What felt like an endless loop. Spend every day doing things any kid would do. Living life, playing, going to school. And being awoken by the pounding of that little heart of mine each time I fell asleep at night.  Every night being rushed to the emergency room, just to be sent back, being told that everything was clear. Until one night, everything was different. I didn’t wake up. My brother found me, shaking, foaming out of the mouth. He felt my pulse and felt it beat faster and faster, until suddenly it began to slow down. Slowing to the point that he could feel nothing but the faintest pulse from this little heart of mine mustering just enough strength to send a sign of life to him.

At the hospital my heart spiked again, beating faster and faster. They stripped my clothes and laid me on a metal table. The pain I felt from that cold steel on my skin was unbearable. The worse pain I’d ever felt in my life, until the ice. The doctors and nursed ripped open bags of ice and poured them onto my body. Kicking and screaming in agony. Each cube felt like it was tearing holes in my skin. Sending my entire body into shock but slowing the pounding I was still feeling in my head. In a way, I felt relief. That this was the pain I was feeling and not that little heart of mine beating faster than jets fly.

The next day, I laid in my bed. A new device strapped to my chest, wires running up and down my body. My mother came into my room and sat on the edge of my bed and told me that the doctors and my insurance just accepted the request of heart surgery. I was to be taken into the operating room the next day. My little brain flooded with thoughts and emotions. I couldn’t fathom the thought of my heart being touched by another person. Tears filled my eyes, and I shoved my face into my pillow and wept for hours.

The next day, I took a moment to breathe as we stepped into the huge hospital. I tightened the grip I had on my mother’s hand as we walked closer to the operating room. My stomach filled with fear. Rumbling and grumbling, I grew more scared with each step that I took toward the room. The bright fluorescent lights that filled the empty hallway stung my eyes. The scent so thick. So memorable even now. The smell of coffee, and latex. Along with the scent of the cleaner used to sanitize the place.

I entered the room, my eyes flickering all over the place. The nurse guided me into a bed, covered with a rough cloth. The cloth itched my skin through my gown. As I laid, the nurse proceeded to insert an IV into my right wrist. I had grown used to the fact that IV’s would contently be inserted into my wrist’s when these events would occur. The feeling of the fluid leaking into my blood stream and the scent that somehow comes after.

After a while, the surgeon entered the room. He was probably the most soft spoken man I have met in my entire life. He made me feel a sense of comfort I hadn’t felt in the past 3 months. He somehow made me forget what he was about to do to me. He asked me common questions. “How are you? Are you having a good day?” and “What’s your favorite football team?” and then after a couple more filler questions he asked me for the scent of my sleeping gas. Immediately I responded “Waffles!” He chuckled. And proceeded to list a couple of scents that actually existed. I ended up choosing banana.

I slowly began to feel a tickling sensation in my nose after he placed the mask on my face. He told me that he had a challenge for me. “If you can stay awake for longer than three seconds, your mom owes twenty bucks.” he explained. My mother agreed. This made it a bit less scary. I began to smell a thick scent of banana. So thick it felt almost choking. I could feel it slide through my nostrils and down my throat. As it continued into my nostrils, I listened as the doctor counted down from three.

Three…

Two…

One…

My eyes were closing but just after he said one, I lifted my thumb to prove that I was not yet asleep. I was not going to lose out on twenty bucks.

When I woke, I was absolutely starving. I was not allowed to eat or drink anything for 24 hours before the surgery. I woke and my mom called the nurse into my room, it had been hours since the surgery ended. The nurse asked me if I was hungry at all. I shook my head. She proceeded to hand me a menu. It all looked good I told my mom. I told the nurse I wanted everything, and she obliged. Bringing me so much food. I don’t know if I was truly given everything on the menu, but it sure felt like it. And I ate it all.

My mother had to walk me to the bathroom and hold me up so I could use it. The surgeon had to go through my groin because I was too young and small to have open heart surgery. This caused me immense pain for a while after surgery and left me scarred forever. Every now and then I would trick my mind into believing something was wrong again, as if my heart was reverting back to the way it was before surgery. But as of now, I haven’t had any issues since with this little heart of mine.

We take these beats for granted. Each beat another moment that our lives are kept going. Each beat a sign that there is more to come. Once that beat is lost what is left? There’s no memory. There’s conscience. Life as a whole is taken and thrown away. What could possibly be left after that? After all we are just a clump of cells, that will eventually be recycled back into the circle of life. These beats mean more than most will ever realize. The beat of your first child heard from within the womb. The beat of your father as he lies on a bed in a hospital. The sudden beat of a patient who had lost their pulse after a freak accident. These little beats make life into music. Constantly beating like a drum for the rest of our bodies to add harmonies and melodies to the endlessly sophisticated song that is our body.

While life moves forward I take time to reflect on the things that affected me as I grew into the person I am. I see the good, the bad, and the terrible. But always I will know that as long as I have faith in myself, I will be okay. I spend many hours sitting and thinking. Filling my mind with words of affirmation to myself. And I make sure I know that through everything, the only person that will be with me forever is myself.

I will never forget any of the experiences I spoke about in this writing, and I know that there will forever be an indent from these incidents on me. There will forever be a mark. Scars on the inside and out. Making me remember the importance… of this little heart of mine.

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  • Jan MoodyApr 3, 2024 at 6:42 PM

    LeLand, I always knew you were a special young man….. Your talents are many and your “little heart” will beat love for your own little person someday and their Mother….. You will sing to that child, give all the love possible and guidance to become a strong and and loving child/human. Your Aunt Laurie has always been right about you. I’m proud to know you, even if it’s just a bit.

    Reply
  • Nellie HubbardApr 3, 2024 at 8:43 AM

    You are a remarkably talented and very loved young man. Keep the faith and keep listening to the beasy of that BIG heart of yours,I love you Infinity. Your MeMy

    Reply