Cockles

 https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1373729

https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1373729

I thanked my Facebook friends for their good wishes. “You’ve warmed the cockles of my heart.” scrolled down some more and logged out.

Eyelids heavy, I put my phone down, and rolled over. I was confident I’d get back to sleep. I sank into my pillow, relaxed my muscles one by one, and focused on my breathing…

My thoughts popped in between breaths. Aren’t cockles seafood? Like mussels? No, no, don’t go there. I knew I was in trouble now—that song...

As she wheeled her wheelbarrow
Through the streets broad and narrow
Crying "cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh"

Alive, alive, oh
Alive, alive, oh

Ever since the surgeries, no matter how tired I am, I have difficulties getting a good night’s sleep. Falling asleep is often a problem, especially after I wake up in the middle of the night. And once my thoughts start darting around, chances are that I’ll stay awake until it’s time to get up.

Last night at 4:45 a.m., I woke up for no apparent reason. I tried to get back to sleep by relaxing my entire body—toes, feet, legs, torso, hands, arms, shoulders, neck, face. But it wasn’t happening. I thought that scrolling through Facebook would help. Sometimes it does. When I found my eyelids getting heavier, I sighed with relief, and tried to fall back asleep. But the word cockles popped into my traitor of a mind.

I knew that cockles, a mollusk, were not kosher. But what about the cockles of my heart? Are they kosher? And if not, what does that mean about me, as a Jew? Do I have non-kosher bits inside me? Is that even a thing?

I had to look it up. Back to my phone. In Dictionary.com I found that a cockle is “any bivalve mollusk of the genus Cardium, having somewhat heart-shaped, radially ribbed valves, especially C. edule, the common edible species of Europe.”

Hmmm… “somewhat heart-shaped.” Was that where the phrase “warm the cockles of my heart” came from?

According to the Urban Dictionary, a cockle also refers to the ventricles of the heart. I was getting somewhere. I decided to look up the phrase.

From the website “World Wide Words” I learnt that it means inducing “a glow of pleasure, sympathy, affection, or some such similar emotion.” That made sense.

Satisfied with that explanation, I set my phone on the nightstand and settled back into my pillow. As I was falling asleep, a ditty drifted by, “Alive, alive, oh.”

It’s been several hours now, dawn has come and gone, and I can’t get it out of my mind:

In Dublin's fair city
Where the girls are so pretty
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone
As she wheeled her wheelbarrow
Through the streets broad and narrow
Crying "cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh"

Alive, alive, oh
Alive, alive, oh
Crying "cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh"