Brandel was born with a small seashell embedded in the muscle just below his left ventricle. There were many theories as to how it got there, and even a few attempts to remove it. But it wasn’t causing him any pain or problems, and overtime everyone lost interest. Eventually it would just become a curiosity for new doctors.
“Yes. It must be in my records there.”
“It is. Does it hurt?”
“Don’t even notice it.”
“Huh. No clue how it got there?”
“Mind if I give it a listen.”
The doctor would lean in and place his stethoscope on Brandel’s chest. Brandel’s heart made a unique sound as the shell bounced back and forth.
There was usually a chuckle, and often a, “Well, I’ll be.”
He just played the game. He was used to it.
Occasionally strangers would recognize him from his Wikipedia page. He was polite and answered their questions. He would pose for pictures and then return to his day.
He wished he could tell them how a tiny shell just showed up inside him while he was in his mother’s womb. But he didn’t know. She died a few years after he was born.
At night, when it was quiet, and his breathing was shallow, he could hear it deep in his chest. Click, click, click. It was comforting.
It was all he knew.