I wrote this story for T last weekend. I’m posting it here for a friend who liked it and wanted to cross-post.
Long ago, two young girls met. Upon seeing one another, they knew with the certainty of innocence, that they would always be one another’s dearest friend. They seemed not to be meeting, but to be picking up where they had left off moments before. They spent that first day telling one another their secrets, but each felt they knew the other’s secrets before they were told. They parted in the evening, promising to meet again the next day.
Many days went my as the two became inseparable. They adults around them were constantly commenting on how the two seemed more like sisters than mere friends. The girls only smiled at one another, knowing that the adults could not truly accept or comprehend the reality of what they shared. Though unspoken, each girl knew that there was a bond between their hearts and a kinship between their souls that had brought them to one another. They recognized, as only mystics attempt to phrase it, that though separate beings, they were one with each other.
And so it was that one day, as they were walking together, one of the girls brought out her most treasured necklace to show her friend. From a long, delicate gold chain hung a heart cut from the clearest and brightest diamond. In her sweetness and innocence, she did not know that the heart was enchanted and that all who saw it felt a sense of envy against the owner and a desire to possess it. The two girls loved each other too much and were too innocent for such adult fallacies as greed, envy, or the desire to possess. When they looked at the necklace, all they felt was a desire to wear it for all time and to gaze at its beauty together.
The girl who held the necklace saw the look on her friend’s face, and recognized the look as a mirror of her own expressions when looking at the heart. In her usual generous manner with this special friend, she offered to let her take the necklace with her for the night. Fearing that she might damage or lose something so precious, the other girl declined content to be able to look at the enchanted stone. For a time, this was enough, but such enchantments are powerful, even over those who are too innocent for their full power.
The girl who held the necklace saw her friend’s growing desire and often let her wear the necklace as they spent their days together. She could see though, that her friend grew sadder each day when the necklace was returned and farewells were said. She often went away feeling sad that her dear friend was unhappy and longed to find a way to share that happiness with her.
Finally she said to her friend, “Take the heart home with you tonight. Let it help you rest as it helps me.”
“No,” said the other girl. “I could not take from you anything so dear. Nor could I share freely, anything so precious. You keep the heart and I shall hope to find my own someday.”
The girls parted, but both their hearts were heavy. They were each growing up and the charms of the diamond heart were working slowly into each of them. Yet, their love for one another was too great to allow it to truly manifest its strange magics into their presence.
In time, the girls agreed to share the necklace. Each would have one night with the heart and return it to the other the next day. Yet nights alone were long for the girl without the heart, and often bitter with some half-understood loneliness and resentment against the friend who had the heart that night. Many times, the girl who held the necklace for a night would delay in leaving her home, for the first time caring more for her own desires than for her friend. A few times, they argued over the necklace as well, each feeling that the other had somehow taken something away from her. Yet, the depth of their friendship always won out and each would apologize and be forgiven within a very short time.
Finally, the girl who had the heart first found out that it was enchanted. She found out about the power of the heart to make anyone too long in its presence desire to possess it. She also realized that the girls were growing older, and as their childhood innocence faded, they were each falling under the desire to possess the trinket they shared.
As a solution, the girls agreed to divide the heart and each to keep half of it with her. They found someone to cut it and soon each half hung from a slender chain on each girl. They parted that night, each content and confident that they had found a wonderful solution.
Magic gems have many strange powers though. The stone was not at all content to be divided. In the night it sowed seeds of jealousy and distrust in the girls’ hearts. Each girl was certain she had a smaller portion of the heart, and each was certain she deserved more. When they met, their time was tainted with bitterness, distrust and envy. Again, their friendship won out over the enchantments and comparing the two halves, it was found that each held an equal portion of the heart.
Night after night though, the stone worked on the girls. As the anguish grew and threatened their friendship they tried, each of them, to give their half of the heart to the other, declaring that their friend was too important or that the strain was too great to continue on as things were. What they could not know was that their friendship and love for one another was changing the magic in the stone and releasing it to its true potential.
Late one night, one of the girls fell ill. She lay in her bed, consumed by fever and delirium. Her family stood by in fear, unable to help her. The other girl woke, sensing her friend’s distress and knowing instantly that the source of the illness was the divided heart. She decided in that instant what must be done.
She made her way through the night and knocked on her friend’s door. She was allowed in and rushed to the side of her dear friend. She took off her own half of the diamond, smiled at it lovingly, and fastened it around the neck of her friend.
“This cannot be divided, and it was wrong for us to try to do so,” she whispered to her friend. “Now, you shall rest and recover from this illness, and when you are well again we will find a better way.” She sat with her friend through the night, holding her hand until finally both slept peacefully in the presence of the heart.
The heart, held in the presence of selfless love for another, worked in the darkness. It examined the heart of both girls. It saw that both would rather be parted from it than to bring pain to her friend. In this presence of love, the heart’s true power was released. Love had returned the diamond heart to its natural state.
Long before the girls knew of the diamond heart, it was crafted to love and to be loved, to enhance love that existed, and bring love where there was none. Yet, the desires of the world twisted that enchantment, replacing love with possessiveness, greed, and envy. The two girls, in their love for one another, released the heart from all the travels and years of being treated as a mere possession. In the darkness, as the girls slept, the heart began to work its true magic.
The girl who had been ill woke, and found her friend at her side. She knew what had been done, and why she was no longer ill. She reached to her neck and found both chains there. Lifting the severed heart into the morning light, she gasped in wonder.
Her friend also woke, and upon seeing the light sparkling through the stones, also gasped.
There, at the end of each chain, instead of a half of an enchanted, diamond heart, there was a full heart. Each was as perfect as the other, each was just as full. Each sparkled brilliantly in the sunlight that danced through the windows. So perfectly matched were the two stones that neither girl could tell which had grown from her half of the stone. Nor did either one care especially. They knew what had happened and smiled at one another.
The caring of the two girls for one another had made it possible to for the diamond heart to provide each of the girls with a whole, yet separate heart. This is the truth of love when shared with love, among those who put love first, even before their own desires.