Once upon a time,
I was taking a walk, listening to music and trying to escape from something. Maybe it was responsibilities. Maybe it was silence. Maybe it was time itself. There was an endless hollow ache inside.
I walked by something lying on the ground. It was covered with a blanket. Whatever it was, it was gasping for air. I could hear the muffled rhythms of inhales and exhales.
I lifted back the blanket and saw a heart lying there. It was not vibrant or even red as you might expect. It was pale pink, white in patches, and bruised purple in places.
“Little Heart!” I said, “what happened?”
And in response it could only cry out a feeble wail, “I’m cold and have no home. Take me with you!”
And so I did. I bundled it up and held it close. For days and nights, I whispered to it sweet lullabies and patient love. And day after day, it grew stronger.
“Teach me to walk,” it said. And so I took it by the hand and taught it to walk.
“Teach me to smile,” it said, but I found this request difficult. “Teach me to laugh,” it said and again it was difficult. “Let’s stick to walking,” I said.
And so the little heart grew stronger until it was strong enough to run and play on its own. It taught itself to smile and laugh. Sometimes it would look over at me. It saw how hard I worked, how little I smiled, how little I laughed. I frightened it and so it kept its distance from me. Until we grew to become strangers living in the same house.
I had a terrible dream one night. I dreamt I was the only one in the whole world who didn’t have a heart. I cried out in my sleep and the little heart, which had now grown so big, vibrant, and strong ran to me and, without hesitation, leapt inside me.
A great wave of warmth flooded through me and I felt calm and less alone.
“Little heart, is that you?” I asked.
“Yes, it is. I thought you didn’t like me,” it said, “I didn’t know you were so sad. Let me stay here with you.”
“I’m sorry,” I told my heart. “I covered you…something had covered you in a blanket and left you a long time ago. Please stay.”
And I learned to smile and to laugh again.
And to this day my heart is still stitching itself back inside me, each day threading itself to my soul until one day it will have a secure enough hold that no injury will be too harmful, no heartbreak will be too painful to prevent it from beating on and on where it belongs.