A white sheet of paper and fourteen folds was all it took. Once completed, I’d write little notes on each folded heart, a reminder of a happy event we shared or one of the many reasons I loved him. He placed them on the mantle, his desk, dresser and on the living room bookcases. Hearts littered every free surface; we were surrounded by our love.
Then one day there were fewer hearts, and only a handful remained on his desk, almost hidden by piles of paperwork. Soon even those holdouts had disappeared. He worked later and spent less time at home. I still folded hearts for him; I loved him all the same. They remained in an old shoe box, though, hidden and shamed, for no message marked their unblemished exterior. No surface awaited their arrival.
When he moved out I folded heart after heart until my fingers cracked and blood from countless paper-cuts stained the pristine hearts red with my grief. Divorce papers arrived soon after, and in my anger, I burned every heart I had made. I watched as the flames licked higher and higher, consuming the fragile paper until only ashes remained to swirl up and around me, falling on my cheeks and eyelashes. Only after all the hearts had been turned to ash and the fire had died did I sign his papers.
(C) Sara Ackerman, 2017