Publication Date: January 3, 2012
WHERE FROGS DON'T CROAK IN THE WINTER
for the little boy with the sad eyes and the lady on the corner talking to the moon - the lonely and the simple are the closest to God.
Fanny hesitated and said barely above a whisper, "You have to help me find my heart, somebody stole my heart."
I remembered my first love. It was so long ago no image of her face remains, only a distant feeling, a feeling so dim it barely glows, but still a warm, happy feeling. But, even feeling warm, I couldn't think of anything to say. Fanny, I can't find my own heart didn't sound right.
"You have to help her, Roosevelt," my Guardian Angel said. "A person without a heart is nothing. Ask the Scarecrow?"
I wanted to tell her - Fanny, we all have a heart - it's there, we only have to hold onto it during this life. I feel like holding her. Telling her stories. Telling her the Wicked Witch of the North has flown away. But, as usual, I couldn't express my feelings.
Fanny stood up and took my hand. Fanny's hand is warm, warm like the inside of a fur-lined glove, warm like a mother's hand on the forehead of a sick child. She pulled me up and I followed her, hand in hand, to the room with the empty dome. Fanny released my hand and pointed at the glass dome. "There was a heart in there, a small diamond heart on a white gold chain that belonged to my grandmother. She gave it to my mother who gave it to me. Somebody stole it sometime yesterday." Her words were low and distant, mysterious, filled with longing and sadness.
"How much was it worth?" I asked.
"Not much, maybe a couple of hundred dollars, but it was special, it was my heart."
She turned from the table and I followed her. We went outside through the front door and walked around the house. On the side of the house is a set of steps leading to the porch. Beside the steps were two coal black cats. They were frozen solid and laid out back to back on their sides. Their legs were stretched out straight. What didn't seem like enough blood from their cut throats stained the snow. "Who ever stole my heart also killed my cats and put them here," Fanny said, holding back a sob.
I feel her loss. I feel her sadness. I wondered who would be vile enough to kill her cats. It made me angry. I swore to myself I would find the culprits. In a small town it couldn't be that hard to find the killer or killers and recover the diamond.
Fanny turned to face me. Two teardrops were frozen on her face. I reached out and touched them gently and they fluttered to the ground like ice butterflies. "You are a good man, Roosevelt," my Guardian Angel said, "Even if you are a jerk most of the time."
"You'll help me?" Fanny asked.
"I'll do my best," I promised her. "For all the lost hearts, I'll do my best."
A lonely smile creased Fanny's face. I suddenly had an eerie feeling in my stomach. It felt like the grim reaper was beckoning me. I wondered if I could get killed over a lost heart and two dead cats.
"You bet your booty," my Guardian Angel said.