“Guard your heart, darling. Guard it with all you have and all you are.” These were her mother’s last words as her heart stopped.
Nina did not cry, for crying can upset the heart. She knew of people who let their emotions lead them, and eventually died from a dismal heart.
People like her mother, who fell in and out of love like it was a game.
Nina wished she could love. She hid her dreams and fantasies in sunrises and rose gardens, her ambitions in old libraries.
Her heart was more special than anything else, and she hid it in pieces. Her mother’s grave held a large portion of her heart, as did her cat’s twinkling bell collar.
Others had smaller pieces of her heart, be it the musician she loved, or the librarian who treated her extra-special.
She stayed away from boys because girls who fell in love were always on the news, their deaths never ending statistics.
Her mother used to call those boys “thieves of the heart” leaving girls with broken hearts and stealing love like thieves.
Giving all your heart to someone was the most dangerous thing of all. A damaged heart can be repaired but a broken heart was fatal.
Other people, like Nina, hid their hearts in special places. It was a common ceremony at weddings to hide a piece of your heart in your lover’s ring.
Some mothers even scattered pieces of their hearts in their baby’s small hands.
Nina never expected to fall in love.
Especially not with a thief.