Happy Valentine’s Day! “Heart of America” by Alex Schattner

Heart of America Illustration

Allison went hiking near Lake Placid, hoping to be alone with her thoughts. She had just broken up with her fifth boyfriend in three months, and was feeling sorry for herself.

“Had she given each man a real chance?” Such thoughts consumed her so much that she accidentally walked into the path of a grizzly bear.

“Is this what an unloving girl deserves?” Allison said, closing her eyes and preparing for the worst. But then…the bear spoke.

“Fear not,” the bear said, “Your true love is out there, and I will take you to him.” Allison felt she had nothing to lose. So, she jumped aboard the bears back and soon they were bounding through the forest.

At that same moment, in a Santa Fe apartment, a man named Brad awoke to find a large eagle perched on his fire escape. Brad had recently broken up with his girlfriend, too. They were planning on living together, but they couldn’t decide whose apartment to keep. This seemingly small issue, became a power struggle that ended their happiness.

Like the bear, the eagle spoke. “Rise up,” it said, “I will take you to your one true love.” So, a curious Brad climbed out his window, and on to the eagles back. Before long, his apartment was lost under the clouds.

Allison and the bear had been traveling for hours, when they came upon a family eating around a campfire.

“Might I join you,” Allison asked, while the bear hid in the bushes.

“I’m sorry,” the father said, “but there isn’t enough to go around.” Allison looked at their plates. They had plenty to share, but Allison wasn’t going to argue with them. As she turned to leave, a wind blew, and the fire’s flames shifted, setting the father’s shirt on fire. Allison acted quickly; tearing off her coat and throwing it over the father’s arm, extinguishing the fire. The father was unharmed, and very grateful.

“Perhaps we have more food than we realized,” he said. Allison took a seat, and enjoyed the fine meal, with her now-pleasant company. By nightfall, Allison was treated like family, and given an extra sleeping bag so that she may rest beside them.

Brad and the Eagle also rested that night. They landed in front of  ”Turner’s Bed and Breakfast,” outside Grand Junction, Colorado.  The place was a well-kept old house painted pink with Victorian turrets. When Brad entered, he heard two people arguing behind the check-in counter. Mr. and Mrs. Turner, he presumed.

“Did they hear me come in?” He wondered, “What am I supposed to do?”

He didn’t want to interrupt them, so he stood by the door, and focused on a nearby bench topped with teddy bears. Still, he heard the couple arguing over how to manage the inn: spend their profit, clean the rooms, manage the gift shop, etc. Eventually, Brad had to interrupt them.

“You both want the same thing,” Brad said, making the couple jump in surprise, “You both want to be in charge, but that’s only possible if you compromise.”

“Maybe you can help us,” Mr. Turner said, “We could use an impartial voice.”

“I’ll do my best,” replied Brad, and for the next hour he listened and advised. Finally, the couple agreed never to let silly problems stop them from loving one another, and Brad feel asleep totally at peace. The next morning, as he flew off, he dared to feel hopeful.

Allison shared this hope as she bid farewell to her new friends, and set off with the bear; now moving faster than ever. By mid-afternoon, both the bear and the eagle reached “Lebanon, Kansas!”

“This is America’s center,” the bear and the eagle said, “This is its heart. Here you will become whole.” The eagle began its decent, and Brad could see Allison waving to greet him. Even from a distance, he felt he could see every feature of her face, as if he had always known it.

When Allison saw Brad’s smiling face looking down from the eagle, she knew the bear had been right. All the unsuccessful relationships no longer mattered. Brad and Allison had acquired the patience, humility, and forgiveness they needed to move forward with their lives…together.


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11 thoughts on “Happy Valentine’s Day! “Heart of America” by Alex Schattner

  1. Alex,

    I met you at the Brooklyn Writers Guild. You are a fine writer and have lots of talent. I loved this story about love.

    • I’m sorry to respond so late, Dorothy. Thank you for the compliments. I really appreciate you taking the time to read my stories. Hope to see you soon! Best, Alex

  2. Pingback: Happy Valentine’s Day! “Heart of America” by Alex Schattner | kaganca

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