Once upon a time, there was a girl who was given a heart to call her own. It was the prettiest thing she had ever seen: large and bright and made of something like glass. She was very happy and she had lots of adventures, and with each adventure her heart sparkled brighter.
One day, the girl met a boy. They were very happy when they were together, and they went on lots of adventures. The girl realized her heart sparkled more than ever before whenever it was near the boy, and so she decided to give it to him to take care of. And the boy promised to share his heart with the girl as well. They got married and moved overseas for their grandest adventure yet.
But about halfway through their time overseas, the boy had an injury. His body got broken. He tried to keep going on with life as normal, but that made it worse. So he had to stop doing a lot of the things that made him happy. It was very difficult for him.
The girl was very worried, and sad to see him broken, so she tried very hard to help him, though she didn’t always know how. She took care of him as best she could, and she tried to make him smile. She did everything she could think of to help, from putting on his socks, to surprising him with a trip to The Happiest Place On Earth. And when she was at a loss for what else to do, she simply held him tight.
But it wasn’t enough. The boy’s body wasn’t the only thing that was broken. His heart was broken too, it had been for a long time, actually. Since long before the girl had met him. And even though the girl was with him, he sometimes felt very alone.
The boy got so lonely that he began to reach out for friends when the girl wasn’t around. He found some friends on the Internet, without the girl’s knowledge. And some of these friends became… something more. Before the boy even knew what was happening, he was giving away pieces of his heart to other people.
Eventually, the girl and the boy moved back from overseas. They both hoped that in a familiar place with new adventures, he would finally be able to feel better.
But the boy felt worse. He was inflicted with a monster called depression, and the girl was very sad. She felt powerless to help him, and as the monster grew, the boy seemed farther and farther away from her. She began to feel very alone.
As the monster grew larger, the girl began to see it as a spreading darkness, a foul creature that was tearing him up from the inside, that was making it harder for her to reach him. It grew so large that it began trying to reach out towards her. She was very frightened, and felt even more alone.
One day, the boy saw what the monster was trying to do, and so he decided he had to tell the girl about the pieces of heart he had given away. He didn’t want the monster to hurt her, he wanted it to stop. He wanted to stop.
When he did this, the monster lost some of its powers.
They both felt very sad, and the boy told the girl she should escape before the monster hurt her any more. But she looked at him, and she loved him, and she saw clearly how much pain he was in. She did not want to leave the boy alone with the monster, she wanted him to be okay. She wanted him to be more than just okay. So she decided to stay beside him, to help him fight the monster.
So the boy and the girl tried to start again. They talked a lot, about everything they’d been going through, and they felt closer than they had ever felt before. And the monster lost some more of its power.
But it didn’t last. Even though the boy and girl seemed to be doing really well, the dark monster inside the boy grew back stronger. One day, when the girl was far away, the boy thought it might be better if he didn’t exist at all. If he just… disappeared. Forever.
Probably, the monster told him so.
The girl found out what the boy was thinking, and was more worried than she had ever been in her entire life. And she was terrified she wouldn’t get back to him in time. She called family and friends to help, and thankfully, they did.
The girl got back to him as fast as she could, and she held him tight. But she knew that he was very broken, and there was nothing she could do to help. So she asked him to go with her to a person who helps broken people get better.
She was scared but relieved. At last, she thought, things were going to be okay. He was in good hands. They would find a way to fight the monster. There was hope.
But then the worst thing of all happened.
She lost him.
Just like that.
This is how it happened: The person who helps broken people did indeed know how to fight the monster. She told them that the only way was to fight the monster in the open, side by side. To do this, the boy would have to share all the pieces of his heart with the girl; that was the only way they could win.
But the boy had not been able to stop giving away the pieces of his heart, you see. And he had run out. There were none left to share with the girl.
“It’s okay,” she cried. “We can get them back.” She was sadder than she had ever been, but she still wanted to help him defeat the monster, once and for all.
But the boy was afraid. He was afraid of the monster, and how the monster was growing stronger by hurting the girl. He didn’t want her to have to fight the monster, his monster, any more. He didn’t want to fight his monster any more. And he was tired. So very, very tired.
So he decided to give back her heart.
But when he held it out, he saw at once that it was in terrible shape. He hadn’t been careful with it, and his monster had been chipping away at it when he wasn’t looking. Left alone in the darkness, it had grown dim and lost its sparkle. The heart, the once bright and beautiful heart, had broken into pieces.
The girl was shocked to see what had happened to her heart. When the boy reached out to hand her the pieces, they slipped through his fingers and fell to the ground, shattering into dust. And the boy was very sorry, because he had never, ever wanted that to happen.
Now neither of them had any pieces of heart left.
And they were both alone.
The girl knew there was someone who could make beautiful things out of dust. And a whole bunch of people that loved the girl very much came around and started sweeping up the dust from her broken pieces of heart, careful not to miss a single speck. So the girl knew she was not alone. She had never been alone.
She stared into the collected pile of dust, when, just for the tiniest instant, she saw something sparkle.