Salty Heart

Foot traffic through the office leaves its marks. It’s that time of year, when on any given winter’s day, people’s steps are left behind on stone-flooring like animal tracks along a snow-laden trail. Where do these conspicuous steps go? It looks to me like a lot of back-and-forth, busy-hurrying and purposeful-doing.

If following animal tracks along, especially in snow-covered terrain, a few may lead to a sheltered borrows, others reveal the shortest route between two or more points, and some disappear as if taken by aliens with an abrupt end and no continuation in sight.

This salty, human footprint trail today reminds me of the Marauder’s Map from Harry Potter’s world. Each print belongs to someone and every person had a reason to have been here, and over time they have come and gone. Unlike the Marauder’s Map, this floor shows the past, not the present tense of time. So the fresh steps, once wet, have now been dried to be what they are now: evaporated evidence of all the busy, what remains is something different, mere memories and reminders of what was before so important.

When I was walking back to my desk this afternoon, heels clicking along in succession like a paced heartbeat, the seeing of this paled heart in my path caught my attention, and suddenly, I stood still. Spotlights from above highlighted its undeniable shape, which was not an identifiable single footstep and showed no certain direction of travel. It just stood out on its own, saying “I am here.” I see you and I know you are a salted-stain of what was once so alive and fully-formed. You are a ghost, a whisper, softly hinting to a past once so purposeful.

I walked steps further ahead and retraced my path to what was behind, hoping just maybe there would be at least one more heart, but this was the only one to be found. The only one. Whatever or whoever made this particular heart print has surely been taken by aliens. ❤️~Paula

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