The package made it to her home on the perfect day.
The day wasn’t perfect because of beautiful weather or happy news, but for the strained climate in her heart.
Perfect. Ideal. Necessary.
Arriving by mail, the bubbled envelope showed up on the day she exchanged terrible words with her beau. It arrived on the day, in the moment, she needed it most—when things like happiness and love and respect seemed muddled and grey.
She marched down her steps carrying hurt feelings and fury. There’s something about the descent, the retreat to a level below, that makes her feel as though she has actual space in their tiny home; her own personal bomb shelter.
A space to be still, a space to rage, a space to be whatever she needs to be in times of domestic quarreling, she retreats to her basement. She likes the air down there—the type of cool that can only come from a concrete floor; crisp, quiet, intermingled with the smells of tools and dryer sheets.
A place to decompress.
A moment to recover from the sharp words that had been fired so irresponsibly. Language, like shrapnel, lodged in the tender tissues of her heart. They had defaced the home in which they promised one another respect, where they raised up little hearts that called them “Mommy” and “Poppi,” where they loved fiercely and discussed deeply every single day.
So arguments never slip quietly away.
She made it to the bottom of her steps where the basement door, exposed to the elements, sits next to a mailbox that needs desperate tending to—she’s not sure how much longer the tired screw will hold that squeaky box.
The package sat upright, peering from the hinged top of the box. Proud and self-assured, as if to say, “Don’t worry, the answer is here.” She didn’t step into the basement that day; instead, she stepped lazily back up the stairs to sit at her kitchen table, suddenly unattached to the residual anger in the room.
A package. For her.
She has many hearts in this world. She trusts them and cares for them even though they exist outside her physical body.
This package came from the heart that lives in Canada—the one she’s connected to by way of a delicate red string that links them together like soup cans.
And on some nights, when she’s quiet or sad or confused or full of love, she can hear them speaking to each other, those two hearts.
Conversations: the “lub” to her “DUB.”
She stared at the shirt that had been sent 350 miles. Suddenly, the universe’s precision seemed quite tangible. The silent, unseen orchestration that transpired to get that package to that doorstep on that day. And her heart releases (ever so slightly) at the realization.
She read the bold white lettering over and over: Breathe it all in. Love it all out.
With each pass, her heart releases bit by bit.
Her awareness shifts to the climate outside of her heart, to the room: it changes as she does and she feels the storm will pass after all.
Breathe it all in.
Love it all out.
There is ugliness in this world that will seep into the fibers of your heart if you let it. There are mean-spirited people, tragic events and maddening setbacks everywhere if you seek them out. On this day, with this soft, cotton shirt in her hand, she decided not to let that ugliness in anymore; for the heart inside her is too delicate, too soft-spoken to face it each day.
She saw the beautiful gesture that lay before her—the one that salvaged her spirit that day—and she vowed to search for beautiful pieces of anything.
They exist in the faces of her children. They exist in the healing conversations that always follow a fight—and did on that day. The way music fills her chest with an unparalleled joy. The way laughter creeps in unexpectedly in awkward moments. The sound of her keyboard clicking beneath fingertips on rare, quiet mornings. Her heating pad on rainy days. The way images of vintage typewriters make her feel inside. Coffee. Old movies. Her cat.
Packages arriving by post.
And there are beautiful pieces in the ugly pieces too, but we must look for them: the freedom to choose love when confronted with fear. The ability to show compassion when faced with non-compassion. The kind smile projected in spite of the day. The silence earned in the bomb-shelter basement.
And when she’s hopeless and tired and too upset to seek these beautiful pieces, she need only look inside to the most beautiful piece of all—the peaceful lub DUB of her dedicated heart.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photos: author’s own, Wikimedia Commons