Pennie and the Shattered Heart

     Black and white. That was all Pennie Adams could see. She was a peculiar child. To her, the world was monotonous. Life was nothing more than a routine; she went to school and came home. Pennie walked by the same trees, took the same turns, and looked at the same cracked cement on the walk home. Nothing about her routine changed. She had a home on a hill, overlooking Slateport, her hometown. She had two brothers, Charlie and Mathew, and two loving parents. Her mom was a nurse and her father worked as a janitor. Pennie had everything any kid in her poor town of Slateport wanted... except happiness. But it wasn't always like this.....
     Pennie once saw every single color of the spectrum. She was a walking ball of joy and happiness. Her copper, curly hair was always conveniently out of place and tangled in so many knots, it resembled a bird's nest. She excelled in everything she did; the kids at her school envied her. You could always find Pennie on the playground, jumping off the swings, climbing on monkey bars, and climbing up the slides. Her laugh was infectious, and it almost seemed as though she didn't know how to frown or cry; she smiled all the time. The citizens of Slateport always talked about her and the way she could light up a room with her smile and presence. People often asked, "How is this child so happy all the time?" Pennie's response was this: "Well, if I don't add color to this world, then who will?" During her childhood, her mom took night classes and worked as a cashier at a convenient store during the day. Her father worked in the fields. They made just enough to get by; Pennie didn't have everything she wanted, but she had everything she needed. However, for her third birthday, her parents saved up enough money to get her a Kodak camera (a very cheap one, but it was a camera nonetheless), and her love for photography flourished. She always walked around with a camera and took pictures of things that made her happy, such as her school, her siblings, and her home, which was very small and poorly maintained. In fact, she took so many pictures on a daily basis, that people began coming up with theories as to why she did this. Some believed that she struggled with memory loss, and taking pictures would help her remember aspects of her life she wouldn't be able to remember otherwise. Some even believed she was a spy. Truth is, it was just something she enjoyed. Pennie kept her pictures in a wooden, heart-shaped box. She tripped on this box on her way to school one day; it appeared to be very old, and the lock on it was broken. She took it home and decorated it with everything; glitter, macaroni, paint... you name it. This box meant everything to her. She said all of her happiness was in that box, which contained photos of virtually everything. "As long as my box is safe, I'll be okay," she'd say.
     The fire raged on for hours before the firefighters came. Pennie and her family were at home when suddenly, her brother Charlie smelled smoke coming from the living room downstairs. The faulty wiring of the home caused a fire that spread very quickly. The family was able to pack some things and evacuate in time before the fire consumed their home. Pennie was asleep when this happened; her mother carried her out. When the firefighters arrived at their home, all that remained were ashes. Pennie woke up from all the commotion and for the first time in years, she cried. "Where's my box? What happened to my box?" she asked her parents. She rummaged through the small bag that her father was carrying, throwing out clothes and some cans of food. "We couldn't get your box in time; we only had time to get some necessities. I'm sorry; we'll replace all your toys, your camera, and your box soon," replied her mother, trying to calm her panicking daughter. But the damage was already done. Her box was her happiness... and it was destroyed in the fire. From that moment on, all color ceased to exist from her world.
     Years and years had passed since the day of the fire. Pennie forgot what color was. All she knew was that the people around her could see it, but she couldn't. She saw no purpose in life. She became very antisocial and couldn't even look at a camera without crying. She cried herself to sleep almost every night. Her parents took her to psychologists all over, but nothing could change Pennie. Her parents put her before everything, even her siblings. She had everything. Everything but her box. She no longer strived to make others smile, because she couldn't even get herself to smile. Her quirky, happy, and social side personality was replaced with sadness and depression. She stuck to a strict routine, to avoid coming across things that would remind her of her once joyous past. Her green eyes that once looked as bright as emeralds became dull. Her wild curly hair that once did what it wanted was now constrained in a tight bun. Her mismatched and colorful outfits were replaced with baggy, colorless clothing. She was no longer Slateport's rainbow; she was just Pennie. Pennie Adams, the girl who once couldn't stop smiling.


     One faithful day, however, Pennie came across something different on her walk home from school. She had a tendency to stare down at the pavement on her walks home; she memorized every crack on the sidewalk that led her home. But that day, out of the corner of her eye, she saw something different. A faint glow. It was red, but Pennie didn't know it. She didn't remember what red looked like. She just knew it wasn't normal. She approached the glow and there, on the sidewalk, was a piece of red glass. She picked it up and looked around. She didn't realize where she was; all she did was follow the strange glow. It led her to her elementary school. She glanced at the piece of glass, and on the glass, she saw a group of kids; Pennie recognized them as her childhood friends. She could see a little girl, running around the playground with her friends and playing tag. "Who is this girl?... She looks strangely familiar..." Pennie asked herself. She studied the piece of glass some more and saw that the familiar-looking girl was playing around with paint. Pennie watched as this girl splattered paint everywhere: on her clothes, on the floor, on the walls... seemingly everything but the painting easel in front of her. And for the first time in years... Pennie smiled. Chuckled, even. Putting the glass in her pocket, she wondered if there were more pieces of glass like the one she found earlier. She decided to take a different route home to find out. And surely enough, by the convenient store around the corner, she found another piece of glass. This piece of glass had an orange glow, but Pennie didn't know it. Well... she couldn't identify it. She just knew the color was different than the first one. She watched as the second piece of glass showed the same little girl, walking inside the convenient store with an old man. The old man looked tired. His clothes were dirty and ripped. He struggled to walk, and Pennie assumed he was sore from work. The little girl ran through the convenient store, picking out nearly every single piece of candy on the shelve, while the old man watched. "Could this be her dad?" Pennie asked as she continued watching. The old man's eyes glistened as he watched his daughter, who eagerly talked to the cashier as if they were lifelong friends. The little girl asked the cashier, "What kind of bow can't be tied?" She waited for the cashier to respond before saying, "A rainbow!" The cashier and the old man laughed because of the cheesiness of the joke, and the little girl took a bow. This was enough to get Pennie to laugh a little harder than she did the first time. She went to compare the two pieces of glass she found earlier, and upon inspection, she saw that they seemed to connect, similar to a puzzle. And for the first time in years, Pennie broke her routine and continued her search. The pieces she found were scattered all over Slateport. The pieces each had a different glow, each piece having a glow that was a different color of the rainbow. The yellow piece was by a tall tree, where the little girl carved some stick figures holding hands; the green piece was by a strawberry field, where the little girl and the same old man from the convenient store picked a basket of strawberries; the blue piece was by a lake, where the little jumped in and effortlessly caught a few small fish with her bare hands; and the purple piece was at the mall, where the little girl threw on a large scarf and a pair of big sunglasses and walked around alongside two boys.
     Thinking she had found enough pieces to start assembling, Pennie sat at a park bench and began trying to connect the pieces of glass. They formed a heart. A rainbow heart. But, there was still a piece missing- the center piece, which was in the shape of a smaller heart. "How will I find a piece so small?" Pennie asked herself; the piece was no bigger than her thumb. She stayed at the park, just thinking. She wondered where the missing piece was, and if she'd ever find it. She looked down at the grass as if it would give her an answer. When she looked up, after a few hours of thinking, she saw a glow... similar to the glow that came from all the pieces she had found earlier. But this one was brighter. She couldn't identify the color, nor where it was coming from. Feeling she had nothing to lose, she followed the glow. Pennie had no clue where she was going... but for some reason, the path she was taking seemed familiar. She recognized the houses she walked by, the trees she walked by... even the cars. The glow got brighter and brighter, but as she approached the last piece, she froze. The final piece was where her old home burned down. No one had bothered to get rid of all the ashes; they formed a dark gray pile on the once green lawn. Pennie could make out some items in the rubble: a few magnets, an old lampshade, and even one of Mathew’s old action figures. The glow was coming from the bottom of the pile of ashes, and despite her clothes getting ridiculously dirty, she kept digging. She couldn't see much, but she felt something hard. Rubbing the ash from her eyes, tears immediately rolled down her face when she saw what she was holding. She was in awe. She had found her box. It was intact. And right next to it was the last piece, which glowed brighter than ever. She put the missing piece in the middle of all the other ones and it formed a beautiful heart. Pennie looked at both hearts: the wooden one and the glass one. She opened the box and saw that all of her pictures were in there. The pieces of glass were scattered in places Pennie had taken pictures of as a child. She recognized the convenient store, the elementary school, the fields... everything. Needless to say, Pennie was overwhelmed; she thought her wooden heart was burned in the fire that destroyed her home, but it wasn't. The glass heart reminded her of her joyous past and took her on a trip down memory lane, a trip Pennie wouldn't have been willing to take had it not been for the pieces of glass that piqued her curiosity. "My happiness..." she whispered, and in the blink of an eye, Pennie saw color again.

Comments

  1. Wow Lesley, this is the cutest little story ever. I love it. This story is so simple, yet so inspiring, and heartwarming.

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