Biology

I never quite understood people. Oh, well I understand their insides alright. The heart beating quick or slow (now quick) based on the little chemicals sent out because of electricity coming all the way from the brain but really coming from the ears and shoulders because your friend just grabbed you and yelled and you didn’t expect it.

And I know why you didn’t expect it. Because that’s not something that happens every day (well maybe it does) and your brain, with all its little electrical wires made of neurons branching out axons and dendrites filled with chemicals and potassium, it isn’t scared of what happens every day. But it sure will want to beat a quick retreat from the unexpected.

I am not the unexpected. Hearts don’t beat quick for me. But people still run: muscles made of thick fibers called sarcomeres, packed with mitochondria but not chloroplasts (plants can’t run), pumping calcium in and out, contracting and relaxing, moving you around and when I’m around, moving you mostly away.

Breathe quick now. Lungs, surrounded by ribs and pleural membrane, pulled by muscles (again) to expand and then contract, gases moving from blood to air to blood to air, and then flowing from blood to everywhere, to the sarcomeres and the little electrical wires made of flesh and the heart that’s stopped beating fast because it’s no longer unexpected that your friend grabbed you because that’s what friends do sometimes and somewhere in the bundle of flesh and nerves and muscle that you are, you knew that.

I wonder often if somewhere in my collection of liver and stomach and pancreas and gallbladder, there is a gut, the kind that feels things you can’t think because I think too much (oh, how I think too much) and I hope maybe I’ll find it in me one day, among all the arteries and portal veins and smooth muscle cells and sodium bicarbonate, I hope I’ll find the thing people keep referring to as a heart.

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