Once, there was a girl with a little hole right over her heart. It was not so big that anyone noticed, much. It was easy to cover up. But sometimes it made a whistling sound when she went about her life, so that she had to talk or sing loud in order to prevent anyone else from hearing it.
For a long time, the girl thought that everyone had a little hole in their heart that they hid from everyone else. “That’s why people wear clothes,” she thought.
But after awhile, she began to long for a friend, anyhow – someone she could show it to.
It soon happened that she went to a circus fair, where there were rides and animals and cotton candy and music everywhere. The bright lights dazzled her eyes.
Not long after arriving, the girl came upon a row of weird and wonderful attractions. There were all sorts of crazy creatures to look at, including a rainbow-coloured grizzly bear, a person with forty-five toes, and a bird that flew upside down.
Then, something else caught her attention. It was a woman, sitting in a booth on a stool. A sign above read: “The World’s Most Beautiful Eyes.”
The girl went closer and sure enough, this person did have the world’s most beautiful eyes. They were like water and fire mixed together with a few diamonds thrown in for good measure.
A crowd gathered just to look in the woman’s beautiful eyes.
While the others were looking, saying “ooooo” and “ahhhhh,” the girl noticed something else. The woman always kept one hand in her pocket.
The girl tiptoed closer. She tiptoed so close that suddenly she was staring right into the most beautiful eyes in the world.
The girl gulped. Her knees wobbled. Her lips trembled. Her guts shook.
Then she looked down and saw that the woman’s hand was still tucked in her pocket.
When she looked up again, the world’s most beautiful eyes were filled with some kind of sadness, like a smile that has forgotten its own name.
“I’ve got to get this person out of here!” thought the girl.
Quick as a flash, she snuck around to the back of the booth, opened it, and whispered to the woman, “Hello – come with me!”
And the woman with the most beautiful eyes in the world jumped up and ran away from the circus.
They ran together until they were almost sure nobody was following. Finally, they came to a river where they were going to have to wade across.
“Hold my hand,” said the girl.
But the woman kept her own hidden in her pocket still.
“What is it?” asked the girl. “What’s wrong?”
Big tears filled the woman’s eyes. They sparkled like a hundred fireworks in the night.
“I have something wrong with me,” she finally said.
The girl smiled. “So do I,” she whispered.
The woman drew her hand from her pocket. Instead of a pointer finger, there was a long icicle. “This is all I have,” she confessed. “I’ve never had anything else.”
“I know what you mean,” said the girl. She pulled down the neck of her shirt, just enough to reveal the hole over her heart. “It’s always been there.”
Then the woman lifted her icicle finger. She pointed it at the hole right above the girl’s heart. Then, gently, she fitted the icicle inside.
“Ouch,” said the girl, and started to cry.
But the woman did not take her icicle away. She only nodded.
“Ouch,” she replied.
Then a funny thing happened.
The girl felt the icicle begin to grow warm and warmer. Finally, it began to melt.
The woman felt the tunnel over the girl’s heart begin to shrink. The flesh swelled up around the icicle, squeezing it tight.
Then the woman pulled away from the girl. She had a normal finger now.
The girl looked down at her chest. The hole above her heart was gone.
“Want to be friends?” they asked each other, but neither needed to answer.
Instead of crossing the river, they walked beside it for a long time. Eventually they did part ways because one wanted to cross the river and the other wanted to return to the circus.
But both were forever changed, and the whole world knew it, and still knows it now.