Once upon a time, an angel told a devil how to break her heart.
It was a strange event, the devil arriving at the edge of Heaven, and an even stranger question that he lobbed at her through the pearly gates.
“How could one break your heart?”
The angel’s wings waved pensively, the feathers brushing the golden bars of the gate. She was reminded of her erstwhile thoughts of whether the gate was to keep the devils out or the angels in.
How could one break your heart?
The question rang in her perfect ears, thrummed against her colorless skin, and pierced her inner light. Indeed, a touch of it seemed to spill from her chest, which she covered with her perfect hand.
“To break my heart, you must first find it.”
“Find it?” the devil echoed, “It is with you, is it not?”
The angel shook her perfect head, light and music spilling from the very rustle of her tresses. “It is not. It is there,” and she pointed beyond the gates, beyond Heaven, in a direction that most supernal beings agreed the earth laid. “It is in uncountable pieces, bits innumerable, hidden in lives lived, living, and to be lived from now through the end of time. In order to break it, you must gather it together, piece upon piece, bit upon bit, and then you must blacken it, every piece. Blacken it with greed, selfishness, unkindness, hate. Every portion must be touched, must be corrupted. In order for my heart to be brittle enough to break, every part of it must be burned and blackened with these flames. For, if even one is untouched, it will continue to beat and glow and that one piece will pour its light into others and those into others and so on. The light will never be diminished.” She blinked perfect, colorless eyes.
“We were all made this way, with our hearts split asunder. That is why we sing and praise and smile and glow. For our hearts are always alight in some corner, spreading to others.”
The angel’s voice was like bells of silver in the devil’s ears as he listened to her explain. When she was done, he slunk away from where he had stood, an inch from Paradise, and walked slowly back down to the Kingdom Below. What he desired was impossible and would always be impossible, for, as long as there are virtues such as goodness, kindness, love, patience, and generosity in but one human heart, that good will pour itself into another and another and another. Good abounding in people uncountable, lives and souls innumerable and alight.