What Became of My Heart

By Jill Witty

The morning my life had not yet darkened, you turned handstands in the hallway, your long, slender legs stretching toward the ceiling, no longer the stubby shoots of a child, but now the soaring stems of an almost-adult, unaware of your allure.

I am an adult. I have no excuse.

I planted a garden, sowed perennials, convinced I could protect you forever, that no storm would overpower you, my hardy hydrangea, my fresh-scented phlox.

When you asked once if there were bad men in the world, I teetered, and then said yes, and when the glimmer faded from your eyes, I backed away from the truth. “But not here,” I said.

The night my life darkened, you started toward your violin lesson alone, trudging across the slick white street, a layer of snow dusting your case, your combat boots a lie, not ready for war but for winter, your jacket zipped tight against the blizzard, keeping the warmth tucked in close, near your heart.

Jill Witty is revising her second novel, training for a marathon and trying to make friends in her new home of Richmond, Virginia. Her work has been published in Catapult, Atlas & Alice, New Flash Fiction Review, and elsewhere. She tweets about writing, running and parenting at @jwitty.

Art by Lesley C. Weston (Silverpoint and digital flim flam)

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