The closer we get

She cradles her heart to her chest like a sick infant. In ways, I suppose it is.
It needs attention, and healing. Yet every time I try to put my love in it, she pulls it closer and turns her back with a whispered apology.
The apology always sounds sincere.
I don’t see her often, just time to time with months in between. Last I saw, she had it tied to a string attached to her wrist. It looked better, but she had it close, very close. I tired to sweep my hand across it, again she pulled it away with a bashful smile.
The smile was a lie. It hurt to see.
Every so often we exchange phone calls or letters, sometimes. I could hear her heart making noises in the background. It sounded like crying and I could tell she was tired from it. I told her to let it cry itself to sleep – I don’t know if she did.
A few days later I wrote her a letter. I hope things are better, not so loud, I wrote. She responded back, her hearts messy ink smudged on the pages. It had finally stopped crying, but now it was restless. She couldn’t get it to sit still in her chest.
Let me watch it, I suggested in the next phone call. It might appreciate some time away. She didn’t outright say no. But I knew she meant no.
I watched from afar, her and her tethered, scratched heart. Held so close, so tightly, and it was always getting sick. Always missing, wanting, lonely. All she wanted to do was protect it, but that was hurting it. It was smaller the next time I saw it. I could see the bags under her eyes and forced smile. She knew, too.
She cried when she slowly passed it over. Any help she could get, she wanted. Her heart was tired and weak and almost empty. It felt like a feather in my hands, but as fragile as glass. I held it gingerly in my arms and whispered my love to it. I tucked it in at night, and read it to sleep.
Her eyes regained their life and the bags beneath them lessened. Her heart was getting better, slowly, but still improving.
The last time I kissed it, I kissed her lips and felt her fold into me. I felt her heart pound in her chest to get to mine.
So I let it.

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