Heart Broken

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In the small town of Conway, New Hampshire, lived a young girl with a personality just as unique as her name, but her heart said to be stronger than anyone else?s has ever been. Sally Sweet Heart was her name. She was a six year old with light blonde hair, big blue eyes, and a giggle that could make the toughest, manliest men smile. She was the kind of girl who, while only a kindergartener, was known by her entire town and loved by every soul. Not a tear had ever graced her cheek, and not a tear was ever caused by words that passed her lips. She was the heart of her town, and it was said that her heart could never be broken. Nothing could ever crush Sally Sweet Heart or hurt her badly enough to erase the innocent smile and diminish the pink dimples from her rosy cheeks. But then again, it was said the wild mustang could never be tamed, and the Titanic could never sink.

It was a cold December in 1996. Christmas time was rolling around, and Sally could not wait. The scent of pine filled her living room, glittering lights adorned her front yard, and stockings were resting on hooks just above her fireplace. Below them, a dimming fire, barely burning, gave off the spontaneous crackle to remind her that it was still alive. Every night, Sally?s mother, Caroline, would heat three mugs of rich hot chocolate, while Sally?s father, Richard, would pick a holiday classic and insert it into the VCR. Then the three of them would settle on the couch, cuddled together, and laugh and watch their favorite classics while silently sipping their hot chocolate. These were the nights that Sally would be able to look back on and smile. These were the nights that made Sally love Christmas more than any other holiday. It was a time where she and her parents, a small family but a tight, close one, were stronger and happier than ever, but what Sally did not know was just how much she would come to miss these nights.

December 24th, Christmas Eve, came sooner than Sally Sweet Heart could have imagined. At eight o?clock, she and her parents gathered around their small but beautiful tree, and each selected one present to open. Her mom opened a green and red wrapped present to reveal a new white, cardigan sweater. She instantly slipped it on over her pajamas. Sally?s father pulled a silver ribbon binding a silver box to open a new wristwatch. In Sally?s point of view it looked expensive. It was silver and shiny, and that was all she needed to think it cost a lot. It was now Sally?s turn to open a present. There was one huge present right in front of the tree just screaming to be opened, but her mother stopped her as she reached for it. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a small, gold box with red ribbon and whispered for Sally to open this one. Sally, mystified, took it as if she was holding a most fragile egg, afraid to give it a squeeze or it may break its gooey contents all over her fleece pajamas. She hesitantly pulled the ribbon and eased the top off the box. Her heart skipped a beat as her eyes set on the contents of the box. A small silver chain sparkled in the dim light from the fire, and on the end of the chain was a locket in the shape of a heart. Sally?s hands quivered as she pried it open with her thumb nail. Inside, her mother had made the inscription, ?To my beautiful daughter, my heart, I love you always.?

Sally Sweet Heart could feel the individual beats of her heart as her mother lifted the necklace from the box and clasped it around her neck. She ran her hand over it then embraced her mother in the tightest hug she had ever given her. This was a night that Sally would never forget. Sally promised to her mother that the heart she now wore around her neck would be there for eternity. And as her mother tucked her into bed, she promised Sally that that would be how long she would love her for; for all eternity.

As the warmth of her blankets comforted and reassured Sally into a soundless sleep, she felt her eyelids grow heavy and the room around her begin to drift away. Just at the last second
before she fell asleep, she heard a thump from downstairs. Within three seconds, she was out of bed, in her fuzzy bunny slippers, and had her bedroom door cracked open. Sally?s cheek pressed against the cold wall as she strained to hear through the small cracked door. Could it really be Santa Claus already? She stood in her doorway for five minutes longer, fingering the pendant around her neck. Then Sally Sweet Heart stepped out of her room and crept to the stairs. Slowly, so as not to make the floorboards creak, one by one she slid down her carpeted staircase. From the bottom she could see the faint glow of the dying fire and smell the pine of her Christmas tree. She inched closer and closer to her living room. With each shaking step, her heart rate increased its loud, beating tempo. Sally was now right around the corner from the living room. One more step and she would meet Santa Claus himself. With a deep breath, a quick prayer under her breath, and fingers crossed, she stepped out into her living room and with a smile wider than the Great Wall of China, Sally exclaimed, ?Santa!?

There before her was not man in a red suit, however. Instead a woman and a man who were all too familiar to Sally, stood in utter shock and embarrassment. One was holding her stocking, filling it to the rim with gifts. The other was in one hand holding a cold glass of milk
and in the other, a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. It was not clear which fell faster or which fell first, Sally?s heart or the first tears to ever caress her innocent cheeks. With all the strength she could possibly muster in the current situation she found herself, Sally choked, ?Mom?Dad???

And with a tear covered hand, Sally reached to her collarbone, wrapped her hand around her heart on a chain, and with one quick pull, let it fall to the ground. The silver chain and heart with its inscription would never again grace its presence on Sally?s neck. Then she turned and walked back to her bedroom leaving a trail of silent tears. And just as the wild mustang was tamed and the Titanic sank, the heart of Sally Sweet Heart was broken.





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