Mary Frances Gallagher was a long-time girlfriend but is now retired.

My boyfriend’s heart lives in the palm of my hand.

I know I’m supposed to keep it somewhere safe, but I only drop it very rarely, I promise, and I always pick off every little dust bunny. And besides, my favorite pastime is looking at it there, nestled in the curve of my fingers. Sometimes its rhythm staggers—that’s when he’s looking at me. He thinks I can’t tell, that I’m metrically challenged, that my hand is numb to his heart’s patterns. Or maybe—silly boyfriend—he thinks that it’s just a metaphor. But I feel its weight (slight) and texture (slick) and pitter-patter (frequently irregular).

I’m so good to his heart. I never, ever squeeze it just to watch it stutter. I never sneak a bite. I hardly ever laugh at its size, and never at its shape. And I think it’s more responsible this way, that I keep his heart close to mine. That way I can watch over them both. Of course, I only have two hands, and I need to go about my day. So, I keep mine right where it always is, just for the convenience.