So the Daddy Tomato Shouts to the Baby Tomato, “Ketchup!”

Having started her heart beating three seconds too late, Eleanor did her best to catch up each day. If the world was a train, she was the girl running alongside it, waving at passengers who were bewildered at best and at worst thought her a fool. It was an anachronistic life, but only slightly.

Eleanor spent her time on a different continuum from others because she’d hesitated the moment just before her heart started up. She had the beginning of a second thought.

The others had told her what to expect when she was expected. She’d told herself it was all bologna. Whatever bologna was. She thought she’d convinced herself of the grandness that was living. But then the story about things not happening according to plan– which she still didn’t quite understand and never wanted to understand– resurfaced. She felt the first beat coming, rising up out of a place she had no control over. She held it back as long as she could, which wasn’t long. But it was enough.

Only after the fact, when the stubborn drum began to beat all on its own, that’s when Eleanor– and you and me and everyone else– suddenly knew just what to do and when to do it. It’s easy to know what to do and when to do it, having already done it. That’s the trick of starting a heart. The second after each of us starts her heart, we realize there’s no such thing as luck in this world, only timing. That we exist as the slack in a trigger, and the trick is to know when to be pulled.

Eleanor was born behind.


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