She carved a space beside the left ventricle. It was cramped and dark, almost airless. But she kept it there over passing months. She kept it tidy, placed flowers to stop it from closing over.
The heart, she realised, was like the weft and weave of a rug. The people came and sewed themselves into the pattern until you no longer knew which parts were you. It was impossible to unpick the rug, it was formed and whole. The closest ones were bright bursts of cobalt and magenta, they caught the eye. Even when they left, she had no desire to unthread them, pull the mangled wool out. So they remained memories that arrested the breath at odd moments.
Yet loss was never just one or the other, herself or them, a measure she could count and weigh. It was shared. The reasons, the stories were meaningless in the face of a steep wall, so high the top was circled by cloud. Sometimes remorse sat like a stone on her chest when she woke. She was paralysed, concrete in the blood, tears seeped in a loop.
She kept the space and took a single step, then another. Feigned strength. Others would receive and give, their lives enmesh with hers. All unique, precious and never forgotten.