Prose Challenge of the Week #41: Write about change through chaos. The winner will be chosen based on a number of criteria, this includes: fire, form, and creative edge. Number of reads, bookmarks, and shares will also be taken into consideration. The winner will receive $100. When sharing to Twitter, please use the hashtag #ProseChallenge

The streets were shining and wet from an earlier snowfall. It was only a little past 5 o’clock in the afternoon and it was pitch dark outside. The streetlights were ablaze, the sound of the F Train roaring by, some children were walking with overstuffed backpacks, winter coats, gloves and hats. As the cat lady took out her trash and the drunk hermit turned on his lights – I felt my chest on fire.
I woke up strapped to a stretcher in an ambulance racing, jumping and banging its way to the hospital. Which, where?
“What happened?” I whispered.
“What is your name?” Some man with a Russian accent asked me.
“My name is Freddy.” He gave a look to the man sitting next to him and I heard him mutter something like; “It says Alfred on his drivers license.”
I tried to explain but the words and energy were gone. I closed my eyes.

I woke up with tubes up every orifice that could found. I felt like I had been hit by a truck and stomped on by a group of elephants. I looked around and saw three women and a man.
“Mr. Zalta? We are going to have you stand up right now.” I nodded no way and she responded.
“Yes, we need to see you walk just a couple of steps.”

When I was finally placed back on the bed; I saw my wife. I put my hands out to say, “What happened?”
“You had a heart attack and they had to open you up to clear out your arteries. Three of them were totally clogged. But you are all right now.” She began to cry.

Before this “Attack” or “Episode” I was a type A personality. I would be at my office at seven in the morning and not get home until nine at night. I drank 5 cups of coffee each day and drank a half of a bottle of scotch each afternoon through the evening. I barely knew who my kids were or how they were even my kids since I didn’t remember seeing them grow up.  I had a very short fuse and could give a shit about anything or anyone if it didn’t pertain to me, myself and I.

Then I was unwittingly given a lifetime membership to the “Zipper Club.” No one wanted to be a member of that club; but if you were it was because you had survived a catastrophic event.

One year later and I am a type Z personality. I wake up and go to work by 930 and leave the office by 6pm. I do not drink alcohol but I allow myself two, sometimes three cups of coffee a day.
I memorized my childrens names and I have even fallen in love with each of them. I spend time with my wife and she actually likes to see me; where in the past she would dread when I would come home and celebrate when I would travel for business.

In the first 45 years of my life I had a broken heart; there was no compassion nor any emotions expressed within or outward.
Now, as I enter my 3rd year with a healed heart and a zipper to show for it – I am alive, in love and in touch.

As I walked across the park one October evening I recalled the night I almost kicked the bucket. I feel a chill and I cross my arms across my chest. I feel the zipper through my coat and I decide to only look forward in life – with only a glimpse of the past so I could avoid the same mistakes that led me to the broken heart and the zipper club.

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