A Love Story

Author | Alyssa Adkins

The heartbeat extended all the way down the drive. I stepped on the path and coiled back in shock. That spark. What was that? I felt it pulse in my toes as I made my way up the path to the front door of DAP as if the building was seducing me with its accelerated pulse.

Mine quickened to match.

I stopped mid-step, uncomfortable with such an intimate moment. I looked over my shoulder to see the dusk melting away any last rays of light. I turned back to face the door of DAP. I was struck by the sweetness and creak of the place. It felt like an old home beckoning me inside, the doormat like an outstretched caress on my hot cheek.  The heartbeat quickened as I grabbed the doorknob. I pulled back.

Wait, should I knock?

The pulse seemed to creep up from behind me and rushed past me in a exhilarating rush. In a moment of boldness that only comes with adrenaline,

I followed.

The creak of the floor greeted me, as if the house was embracing me in excitement.

You finally came in! How pleased am I!

I smiled a sly smile in return as I let the aroma and character of DAP breathe in the air. The receptionist jolted me back to awareness, but the building seemed to continue to whisper in my ear, distracting me from her questions.

Soon Konrad appeared from deep in the belly of the building. He seemed to know his humble place in this home, respect bled out of him. But it was the kind of bleeding that seemed honorable, therapeutic. The creak as Konrad stepped down the stairs had a softer tone, like a throaty wind chime. It called me to trust.

I followed.

And arrived in the basement office. The heartbeat was softer now, calmer, adjusted. I seemed to be standing in the pit of the home. Eaten up papers were fluttering throughout the entanglement of woody chairs and scratched desktops. The pulse of the home and Konrad’s trusting step took us through the basement offices and daycare. The daycare seemed to plead to me to accept it for what it was.

I really am a home to these children. They love me with toothy smiles and knobby knees. I soothe them in a way they haven’t been in a while.

I know, I whispered.

The heartbeat thumped loudly, two times.

Thank you.

Konrad made his way up the stairs.

I followed.

The heartbeat resounded fuller and fuller as we approached the entry way again. Konrad led us through the meeting rooms, which fought against that label with every moment of their history.

We are here to defend the anger. We are here to hold the tears, and eventually absorb them. We are here to take the guilt. We are here to heal the sick with our strong and mighty foundation.

The heartbeat thumped a deep, steady rhythm. A glory song of the healing.

Konrad, with a look of contemplation and deep connection, turned cautiously on his heel. He seemed to be listening to something.

Ah, the pulse.

He quietly exited the room and began his journey up the stairs.

I followed.

The pulse led me up the staircase, coaxing me with its reverberating energy, echoing itself in my footsteps. I yearned to go forward, curious to see more. The next two flights of stair brought us into countless other little caves, each with its own array of stacks of paper, trinkets of years past and humble people that seemed to each be carrying the life blood of this house, DAP. Their smiles assured me of their own humble, intricate part of the aliveness of the project.

Konrad, who seemed to be guided not by his own inclinations but rather the direction of the pulse, took us to the very top room of the house. As we twisted and bent our bodies through the narrow hallway, the excitement expounded, the curiosity surmounted.

The heartbeats quickened.

And we entered the office of another humble servant of this house. Her voice was much like Konrad’s, a soft strength adorned with moments of sparkle. The heartbeat quieted, knowing this woman was of importance to us. She looked at us all, with such intent it dulled my heartbeat down to meet that of the house.

She thanked us for our work.

You are telling our stories. These are the stories that are the pulse of our project. They are what make the heart beat, and beat so triumphantly.

I nodded, nauseous by a rush of blood to my head, yet confident and content in my purpose.

Don’t worry. I have begun to feel the heartbeat already.

The heartbeat thumped once, loudly, boldy.

I followed.