Inspired by Sarah Suk
I met the Girl With Warm Hands at an ice rink holding cups of hot chocolate to greet chilled skaters. She had wildfire hair and a voice that made me feel like I was being wrapped in a blanket. I thought her hands were warm because of the cocoa mugs she held, but I soon learned that it was the other way around.
People would draw close to her in the winter, and she would rid them of frostbitten fingertips and frozen noses. In the summer, she made the best roasted marshmallows (golden brown on the outside, chewy on the inside), because she could get as close to the fire as she wanted without being bothered by the heat. She made a living from knitting scarves.
One day, she found me crying with a stone in my hands.
"What's wrong?" the Girl With Warm Hands asked.
"This is all the love I have left," I said, "And it's gone cold."
The Girl With Warm Hands sat with me as I told her about all the ways I tried to warm up the stone - bundling it in scarves and blankets, holding it over the fireplace, even attempting to microwave it. And then we were quiet for a while.
"Here," I said finally, giving her the stone, "Hold it in your hands."
"I don't think it works that way," she said, "I heard that love will only grow warm again if you plant it like a seed."
And so we gave the stone to the earth and left it for a while. We let the rain and the sun do its work and the soil take its time. Many seasons passed, and it began to bud, then bloom, and then blossom into a tree with outstretched arms that reached for the sun.
The tree was a phenomenon that no one could explain. In the summer, it would provide shade, but in the winter, it would radiate heat. People came from around the world to press their palms against the trunk of the tree and feel its warmth. Scientists came and picked and prodded, but they would all leave shaking their heads and wondering how a tree could give off heat.
When people asked me why it was so, I would tell them it was because it was planted by the Girl With Warm Hands. When people asked her why it was so, she would tell them it was because it was planted by the Girl Who Never Gave Up. But we both knew that it had nothing to do with the Girl With Warm Hands or the Girl Who Never Gave Up, but because we let the rain and the sun do its work and the soil take its time. We let the earth give love what it needed to grow warm again.