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Finding Her Heart
Seven miles above the ocean, Rita watched the clouds.
She had thought the world of him, but she’d never been enough. He’d said he’d loved her, and maybe he had, but he’d loved the redheaded florist just as much.
Her ring finger felt naked.
Living had felt like suffocating. She couldn’t remember what the plane ticket said, but she didn’t want to turn back. Rita wouldn’t admit she was running; changing sounded better.
A new country, a new life.
“On vacation?” the girl in the next seat asked.
“Yeah.” The word was hollow.
A long pause, filled with filtered air, then, “You suck at lying.”
Rita turned, glaring. The girl couldn’t have been more than thirteen.
She turned sharply away from the blonde girl and her questioning eyes. Her right hand anxiously fluttered around her bare left ring finger, a nervous reflex.
“He hurt you, huh?” the girl said. The words were flat, self-assured; a statement. Rita refused to turn her head, give the girl the gratitude of being right, so she stared straight ahead.
Emotions tumbled like drunk acrobats. Anger, hurt, secret rage she wished selfishly on anyone in love. Guilt. Loneliness.
“He stepped on my heart,” Rita heard herself say. The words tasted bitter. “So I left him behind.”
“No you didn’t.” The voice was soft, not accusatory. “You left your heart behind. Wherever he is, he’s still standing on it.”
Her tears stung, so she stared out the window at fleecy fair-weather clouds. She thought of him, of the nights she spent awake, feeling the throb of betrayal.
This didn’t have to be penance for falling in love.
It could be a way to find her heart again.