Positioning herself on the smoothest rock she is able find, Holly looks out at the ocean, while praying that this sanctuary by the sea can provide her with the answers she is yearning for.
The day itself is grey. The sky is overcast, with the clouds resembling puffs of fluff, instead of the white marshmallow pillows one would dream of slumbering on. The water reflects a deeper, moodier grey reflecting Holly’s somber thoughts that have taken residence in her mind. The sadness and devastation she is experiencing, cripples her body. Emotionally, she is feeling drained and raw; physically, she is tired and weak.
“What are you thinking about?” The little girl’s sweet voice breaks Holly’s gaze from the large body of water that spans before her.
“My heart,” she says, “I am thinking about my heart.”
Holly looks at the small girl and is instantly taken by her precious smile and her big curious brown eyes. She appears to be around six or seven years of age – too young to be roaming alone on these rocks. Holly takes a quick look around and notices a woman sitting with her back against the rock wall, and she assumes this lady must be the mother of this adorable child.
“Is your heart sick?” She asks, leaning her head to one side. A golden curl falls in response to the movement and cascades down over her deeply concerned eyes.
Holly is touched by the little girl’s sincerity; the tone of her tender voice brings tears to Holly’s eyes.
“No, my heart isn’t sick…not physically.” Holly answers, and then quickly realises it may not be appropriate for her to open up so candidly to someone so young. But there is something about her that’s so familiar, Holly thinks to herself. She is only a child and yet I feel as though I know her.
The little girl places her bucket down on the rock, right next to Holly. It is full of seashells she has been carefully collecting along the beach. She takes a seat beside Holly. One by one, she pulls out a shell and examines each one, before placing it on the rocky surface they are sitting on.
“So, is there something else wrong with your heart?” She asks Holly.
“It’s just feeling a little battered and bruised…and broken.”
“Did you give it to someone and they didn’t look after it very well?” She asks with her eyes widening.
“Yes,” Holly answers, “I believe I did.” Holly had never thought of it in this way before, but it makes perfect sense.
As the little girl continues to play with the shells, Holly thinks about her relationship with Dan. She thinks about how she fell in love with him when she was only eighteen. She thinks about how she gave up her dreams of travelling overseas, acting on stage and establishing her career, all because he appeared first. She remembers him being filled with excitement as he shared his plans about how he was ready to settle down. He talked with passion about them owning their own home and raising a family. He was bursting with anticipation as he discussed how they would get to experience the world, when they travelled together for their annual holidays. Yes, she gave him her heart. She served it up to him on a silver platter and he was happy to take it all for himself.
Holly looks down at the little girl, and at the shells. “Look, I made them into the shape of a love heart,” she says proudly.
“Yes, you have,” Holly says, smiling in admiration of the child’s masterpiece.
“See, all you have to do, is collect the pieces one by one, and put your heart back together,” says the pretty princess with ringlets of gold.
“I’ll try,” Holly says quietly.
Taking her eyes off the little girl, Holly looks out to the ocean and wonders how on earth she is going to gather all the pieces of her heart, that have been torn off over the ten years she was with Dan. How do you recover, when you discover lies that have been hidden for so long? How do you take back a heart that was given to someone else? How do you put all the pieces back together, when you feel as though that person knew you better than you know yourself, and yet, they were willing to cause you so much pain?
“Here,” the little girl takes one of the shells from the heart shape she created, and gives it to Holly. “This one tells me that you are strong. Put it down and start building your own heart,” she says, instructing Holly.
“Okay,” Holly agrees, figuring she’ll play along. Holly puts the shell in place, and as she does this, she looks at the little girl and she is in awe of how someone so young can be so perceptive, and wise.
“This shell with the purple lines, is so you can listen to your own voice again.”
“I love this one, it’s extraordinary,” Holly says as she places it down.
“The white one is to let you know you are safe, it looks like it has wings. And, this one is because you are brave.”
The beautiful child continues to give Holly every shell that had outlined the heart shape she made. As she hands each one to Holly, she continues to name what that shell symbolises; happiness, self-belief, self-worth, peace, confidence, trust and joy.
“And this last one, the pink one, puts your whole heart together. It’s for love! Now that your heart is put back together, it belongs to you again and now you can love yourself.”
Holly wishes she could give this gorgeous girl a grateful hug, but instead she just smiles and says “thank you.” She looks back to see if the mother is still watching. She hopes the woman isn’t annoyed that her daughter has spent all this time talking to a stranger, but Holly notices that the woman has gone.
Before Holly can question the little girl about her mother and her whereabouts, she stands up and says…“you need to play more often Holly. You need to have fun collecting seashells, drawing in the sand, running into the ocean and squealing as the cold water hits your body. It’s time to move on, relax and enjoy your life.”
She skips over to a crater filled with water and stops for a few seconds to admire a starfish. She then jumps up and dances around the rocks, while singing to herself.
Holly watches as the spirit of her inner-child enters the mouth of a cave, and fades away as she runs off to discover what’s inside.
Holly is now certain of what it is she needs to do in order to move forward. When Dan owned up to everything he had done, how he had cheated and lied and betrayed Holly, her heart was broken. She had been suspicious for some time but had hoped she was just being paranoid, only to find out she should have listened to her inner voice many years ago.
She had many dreams when she was young, and one of them was to fall in love. And because this dream was the first one to come true, she allowed the others to slip away into the night sky and fade into the distance.
Holly’s little spirit showed up to remind her of just how beautiful and strong she is. She fell in love with this little girl and the positive, compassionate energy that exists within her.
It’s not going to be an easy road, but Holly is looking forward to rediscovering who she is, and the journey she will take towards fulfilling the dreams she had left behind all those years ago.
More importantly, it is now time for Holly to take back ownership of her heart and take the time she needs to put all the pieces back together. She is confident that she will create her own masterpiece; a heart that is abundant in self-love and full of happiness.