December. She can remember the nights well, lying under sheets of blankets and comforters, crying in beat to the ticking of the clock. The nights when the tears didn’t stop. When she felt as if she were Alice, in a wonderland where she cried a sea. Nights when she couldn’t help but scream out into the night. The nights when her mother would cuddle up next to her, her fingers combing through her hair. “It’s going to be okay,” she promised. The words that meant nothing, but everything at the same time. She’d respond with questions full of sorrow and misery, “Why doesn’t he love me? What did I do? Why I am not good enough? Why did he hurt me?” For a week her mother comforted her, night after night, letting her daughter cry herself to sleep, where she’d often drift into nightmares, horrors that merely mimicked reality.

Yes, December was the month. Three years ago, when her heart shattered. Not like taking scissors to it and gently slicing it down the middle. No. Like a mirror, thrown against a jagged surface, making it impossible to pick up the pieces. Three years and she still doesn’t understand why some pieces are still missing. Perhaps it’s because like all search and rescues, time goes by and one stops looking. Split into so many pieces, hidden in each direction, like horcruxes that seem impossible to find, with little clues few and far between.

But somehow it was the experience that made her the strongest. Not her mother nearly dying. Not her grandma with Alzheimers who lived with her a year and died a summer later. And all the other things she doesn't want to mention. No, a broken heart was the worst of them all. Her King told her, "Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." If only she'd known before how true that was. ★

To all readers and commenters:
Thank you so much for each visit and your lovely words.
Have a happy, happy Christmas Eve & Day.
I hope it's truly magical. &
In case someone hasn't told you today, you're beautiful.