Aug 14 2018

WEP Flash Fiction A Change of Heart in Bright Eyes Lifetime #FlashFiction #WEPFF

#WEP #WEPFF Flash Fiction August 2018 Change of Heart
#WEP – Write…Edit…Publish AUGUST Challenge — CHANGE OF HEART

A Change of Heart in Bright Eyes’ Lifetime

By J Lenni Dorner

I get out of my car then turn around, wanting to get back in. My palms sweat, reminding me of the hand that won’t hold mine. I pop a mint into my mouth. When it’s gone, I will move.

The mint dissolves. I force myself to turn around, this time facing the blue entrance door. No more crying over him. He’s made his choice. It’s time to live my life. Turning the steel handle on the door sets all my hair on edge. I’m really doing this. But without him. He took all my best years. No! I go to the mirror near the entrance to look into my eyes. I’m alive, that’s what matters.

“Hey, Bright Eyes.” I turn around, hearing my instructor address me. I open my mouth to reply, but nothing comes out. This is not the time to fall apart. I’ve already been broken. Today is about rebuilding.

I turn the red jumpsuit around, inspecting it, before putting it on. I’m a restless jumble of nerves but excited too. For so long now, I’ve dreamed of doing something wild. Turning around and around in midair seems perfect. I know I’ll be helpless against gravity. And I’ll be strapped to my instructor like a child in a parent’s sling. I’m glad my instructor, my beau, Ethan, is so handsome. But I’m angry that thoughts of my ex continue to creep into my head. I need to be out in the air, to let out a cry of freedom. My instructor, I’m sure, can see the fear in my eyes.

“Check out this view, Bright Eyes!” The closer to two miles high we get, the more I fall apart. He wants me to turn around, face the windows rather than the inside of the plane. If we land wrong, I could literally fall apart.

“I need you,” I whisper as he checks the tandem straps. My need for another person is more than ever, but so is my need to be on my own for the first time since I was twenty. I hold on tight as we jump. The wind catches us. I let go of the forever I thought I’d have with Kota. The small bits of my exposed skin tingle, almost burning with life, making this feel right. If this fresh, clean air is the last scent I smell, it would be worth it. Nothing that feels this freeing could be wrong. Ethan steers us toward the landing zone. A cloud casts a shadow. It’s as if Kota is punishing my good time. He left me alone in the dark. Our end was explosive, it made the machines I was hooked to nearly give off sparks. But the cloud moves, perhaps because I need it too. My forever, whatever years I have left, they start tonight.

skydiving Photo by Eun-Kwang Bae on Unsplash

Ethan and I walk away from the jump site. I promised, weeks ago, I’d tell him why I wanted to do this after the jump was done. “I feel like I’ve waited forever to hear the reason,” he says.

“Once upon a time,” I begin, inhaling his scent of leather and honeysuckle between words, “I thought I was in love. But it fell apart. There was nothing I could do, because I was having a change of heart.”

“The light went out on your love?”

“For Kota it did. He left me in the dark, to face death alone. But the surgery went well, and I’m still alive, here with my new heart. But there was nothing I could say to win him back.”

heart transplant mug image

“I’m sorry to hear that, Bright Eyes. Have you turned your life around since then? Is that what skydiving was for?”

“Well, every now and then I still fall apart.” My eyes fill with tears. “I still, sometimes, let the loss of our fifteen years together tear me apart.”

Ethan hugs me. I want to tell him that I needed it, and that I need him. But, more than ever, I also need to be by myself, to prove to myself I can be strong alone. It feels so good when he holds me tight. I want to tell him that I’d like this to last forever. We could be right together. Or my new heart could be rejected, and then it’d be wrong to leave him a widower. Maybe we’d make it to the end of my life. But my health would be a shadow on us all the time. I’m like a ticking bomb. His lips mash against mine, his kiss giving off sparks. I really need him tonight. But what kind of forever could we start tonight? No, tonight was about my forever, not ours together.

“In the beginning, when Kota was falling in love elsewhere, and I was hospitalized and falling apart,” I take a deep breath, moving my arms between us. I have to get this out. “There was nothing I could do. Parts of my actual heart were dying, no longer working on their own. And Koto, the light in my life, he took his love to somewhere dark. He left me for a sex doll. Not for another man, or even for a woman, but a Dutch Wife. A robot from Japan. And there was nothing I could say. Unlike me, it won’t die. It has no heart. It will never need an organ transplant.”

He undoes the top of my jumpsuit, lifts my shirt, and slides his hand to my scar. “I prefer a heart, even transplanted.”

I look away, still ashamed of being left for a doll.

“Look at me, Bright Eyes.” He catches my chin.

“I wish he’d lied! I wish I were in the dark about his new love. I’m inferior to a doll!”

“No, Bright Eyes. Turn your thinking around. He left when it got hard. That isn’t your fault.”

“Osiris. I don’t care for nicknames, especially not Bright Eyes. I’ve shed too many tears for such a name.”


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995 FCA

The inspiration for this post was not only the prompt “change of heart,” but also part of a true story and the following song:

If you were curious about the wordplay and certain repetition, now you know what I was aiming for– a deconstructed version of the song with a twist.

55 comments

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  1. Love this piece, and heard the song playing even before I reached the end.
    Hooray for courage and fresh beginnings.
    I know whose heart I consider was eclipsed too.
    Elephants Child has this post to share WEP/ISWG August Challenge – A Change of HeartMy Profile

    1. Glad I got the song into your head.
      All part of my evil master plan to rule the world. (Ha ha ha, totally joking.)

      Thanks for reading!
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    • Yolanda Renee on August 14, 2018 at 6:11 PM
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    I’ve always loved that song. You did a great job incorporating the lyrics into the story. So heart wrenching! I can not imagine that kind of loss, and knowing it’s a true story adds to the sadness.
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    1. Thanks! Glad you liked it.
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  2. Reading your story, I thought heavily on The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin. I believe they made the book into a movie but I never saw it. I preferred sticking with the novel and its interpretation. A very intriguing story. I believe for some people it is very difficult dealing with the reality of living with a person who has had a heart transplant.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G
    patgarcia has this post to share WEP August 2018 Flash Fiction Challenge, Janie B and A Change of Heart, By Pat GarciaMy Profile
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    1. I have seen the movie (because I’m a fan of Matthew Broderick). We have made that same connection in real life, oddly enough.
      Thanks for reading!
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  3. Sad, yet poetic in a way. I enjoyed the story. Knowing it was base on a true story made it that more moving. When I first started reading I did not realize it would be a heart transplant. I thought your presentation very well done. This could lend itself to a bigger tale too I think. Well done. I felt for the character.
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    1. Thanks so much! Glad you liked it. Maybe it’ll be a longer story one day. I hadn’t really thought about it before.
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  4. Knowing it is a true story makes it hit home even more. How anyone could go into the arms of a sex doll is just bewildering. But pushing on is the way.

    1. Thanks for reading!
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  5. A new beginning with a new man. I hope it works for her. I hope this skydiving finally liberates her, allowing her to love again. Her faithless ex isn’t worthy of regrets.
    An excellent entry in this challenge.

    1. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.

      *him/his
      Osiris is a male.

      And yeah, his ex is total trash. I gotta say, I love that everyone agrees with that, because that guy seriously pissed me off. Then again, I’m glad my friend is taking the chance to meet better guys now. But dumping someone while they’re in the hospital (not actually a heart transplant, but still), that’s just so wrong.
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  6. Hi JL … yes the knowing it’s based on a true story gives it that extra push into nastiness. I just hope she can really move and can cope with her change of heart – has the strength to pull through … certainly drew me in to the story line – something I’d hate to experience. Cheers Hilary

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed! Thanks for reading.

      *he
      Osiris is a male.
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  7. Fantastic story. Her courage despite all she’s lost. Her ex was a fool. You drew me into the story quickly. I felt her loss, her fears, her exhilaration and relief. Excellent writing. This could easily be expanded into a full-length novel.
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    1. Thanks so much for reading!
      Yeah, I suppose I could turn my friend’s story, with several twists to make it fiction, into a novel. Maybe one day. Thanks for the idea.

      *he/his
      Osiris is a male.
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  8. Great writing as usual. She is well rid of her ex. What kind of person leaves a real human for a doll? I hope she finds a way to heal herself, get comfortable being alone and then start off afresh with Ethan.

    Quite a few stories about/around heart transplants in this month’s challenge 🙂

    1. Thanks! Glad you liked it.

      *he
      Osiris is a male. (And the real-life guy the story is inspired by/ very loosely based off of — he and “Ethan” did date for a few months, but it didn’t work out. They’re still friends though, hang out every now and then. And yes, “Kota” really did leave for a doll while “Osiris” was in the hospital– but not for a heart transplant, that was something I switched for the “change of heart” prompt. A literal change of heart.)
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    • Deborah Druckerd on August 16, 2018 at 7:58 PM
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    An interesting story about a very painful loss and then a chance of new life and love.

    • Deborah Drucker on August 16, 2018 at 7:59 PM
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    An interesting story about a very painful loss and then a chance of new life and love.

    1. Thanks for reading!
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  9. I like the weaving together of the story and the reference to a song. It adds another layer to the mix. Breaking up is hard to do, but I thought the reference to being ditched for a ‘doll’ was humorous. I would say Kota couldn’t handle the real thing, and perhaps a doll or robot is more safe or submissive. An interesting take on the prompt, very well done.

    1. Sadly, the doll part was the true part of the story. (And there was a hospital stay involved, but not a heart transplant. That was something I switched for the “change of heart” prompt.)

      Thanks for reading! And for double commenting. (No clue why it thought you were spam.)
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  10. Liked the interplay between the story and the words of the song. Well done! As a twenty something, you think your life is over when your love and your plans go down the drain. Hope the character finds someone more lasting.

    1. Thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed it.
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  11. Hi J Lenni.

    What a wonderful idea to present a masterfully deconstructed version of a song with a twist. I love that song too and glad you left it until the end to tell us your inspiration, otherwise I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much. Loved to think about it afterwards.

    I understand how conflicted she feels, but I can’t help hoping she’ll take a chance on Ethan. Oh, another song, another idea.

    Thanks for posting to WEP/IWSG!

    Awesome entry as always.

    Denise
    Denise Covey has this post to share #WEPff – WEP August challenge – my #flashfiction – Carpe Diem.My Profile
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    1. Thanks! Glad you liked it.

      *he
      Osiris is a male. (And the real-life guy the story is inspired by/ very loosely based off of — he and “Ethan” did date for a few months, but it didn’t work out. They’re still friends though, hang out every now and then.)
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  12. Using skydiving is as a metaphor for how life has its ups and down was a smart choice. Great job

    1. Thanks so much!
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  13. I love the blend of song and story in this. Eventually, maybe she’ll come to realize that he’ll never be loved by a sex doll. Loved the feeling of new freedom, too.
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    1. Thanks. I’m glad you liked it.

      *He
      Osiris is a male.

      And the real-life version of that character is still with his doll. But “Osiris” is doing well.
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  14. Everything about this captivated me. It has to be terrible to be abandoned while facing the possibility of death, and having it be for a sex doll would have that bit of extra sting. I’m glad to see he’s trying to move on from the pain of losing that relationship, and while the threat of failing health will always be there, I hope he lives the rest of his life to the fullest.
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    1. Thanks for reading. And thanks for knowing Osiris is a male.
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  15. Wonderful piece, and a great song.
    I was not expecting the ‘doll’ thing, but hey, that’s kind of the world we live in now. I love the way you incorporated the change of heart in several ways within this one story.
    This story is terrible and sad, and then it’s hopeful. I really enjoyed this. Great job.
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    1. Thanks! Glad you liked it.
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    • desk49 on August 19, 2018 at 2:51 AM
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    995 words
    It seem shorter than that. Too good of a story.
    I started reading it and got all wrapped up.
    Boom it was over.
    They changed her heart
    She changed her heart
    He was trying to change her heart
    I think you got this covered.

    1. Thanks for reading.
      Yeah, I took the “change of heart” to several places.

      *His/He
      Osiris is a male.
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  16. I enjoyed the multiple perspectives on A Change Of Heart.
    I love the way your story unfolded – well-paced melancholy, with a dash of hope at the end.
    Great writing too!
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    1. That was the goal. Glad it was achieved! Thanks for reading.
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  17. I love Bonnie Tyler and love your deconstruction with a twist – or rather a few twists. You took the lyrics and the theme and made them your own. I’m impressed.
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    1. Re-read as I saw the comments about Osiris – of course, Isis and Osiris, so I should have picked up on that. I pulled something similar with my piece so should have realised.
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      1. I guess it shows that I don’t publish as much LGBTQ+ fiction as I do cis fiction (not sure all my characters actually count as “cis” either, but anyway). But yeah, I thought I used a very manly name. To be fair, I don’t know much about names. I’ve been studying them since I was young, and it seems I learn less the more I investigate. Ha ha ha.
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    2. Thanks! 🙂
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  18. Got the song very early on, since it echoes to me from the musical Dance of the Vampires (unfortunately ruined when it was revamped for Broadway).
    Great take on it and the prompt!
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    1. Thanks for reading!
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  19. I picked up on the song lyrics! Your story actually helps the song make a bit more sense :p
    I’m glad she’s finding her way out of the dark times.
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    1. Thanks.

      *he
      Osiris is a male.
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  20. Great story, wasn’t expecting the ‘doll’ – good twist.

    1. The doll was, unfortunately, part of the true story of what my friend went through.
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  21. I love the twist on Total Eclipse of the Heart. I had to go back and reread it to see how you used the lyrics, nicely done! That would be terrible to be abandoned by someone at a time when she needed him the most. I can see why trying to get a fresh start would be hard.
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    1. Thanks for reading. Yeah, it’s a pretty bad time to leave someone.

      *He
      Osiris is a male.
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  22. Wow! I totally missed the song reeference, but the story worked anyway. I also realize that I completely assumed that “Bright Eyes” was female. Had to look back to see that there was no basis for that except the sort of assumptions that need shaking up now and then!

    1. Looking back and thinking is what matters. 🙂
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  23. Congratulations on being shortlisted for the August WEP challenge.
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    1. Thank you!
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