Hannah was a special little girl. There was only one small problem. She herself didn't think she was. Hannah wasn't really sure why she felt like that. It just seemed to be something that she had always known--that she was nothing special.
She was small for her age, so she couldn't run as fast as the others that won the races. She was shy, so she found it hard to make friends and only had one (and some days none when her 'friend' didn't feel like being her friend that day). She didn't have beautiful long blond hair or lovely brown eyes like some of the other girls, nor was she outstanding in any of her classes. She was, she thought to herself, just... well...ordinary.
One night, Hannah was lying in her soft, comfortable bed, thinking about school tomorrow and the math test. She tossed and turned, finding it hard to sleep because even though she always tried hard in class, she didn't know if she'd do well or not. She'd like to, just once, do better than average.
As she twiddled with her stripey pyjama sleeves, gazing out at the night stars through her moonlit window, she heard something. Hannah frowned in the middle of a yawn, which is quite a funny face to see, not sure what the noise had been and stopped fidgeting. Yes, there it was again. Sounded like a whisper...
"Psst...Hannah...", said a small voice. Now, Hannah trembled a little at this unexpected event. Everyone else in the house was sleeping, she knew that. The voice wasn't scary though, she decided, it was soft and gentle, so her curiosity got the better of her.
"Yes? Hello? Who's that?", she asked, pulling her covers up just a bit more to her dimpled chin. Actually, it came out more like a squeak when she said it because she was still a little scared. Hannah squinted her eyes in the half light, trying to find the source of the voice.
"It's me! You don't know me?" said the voice, sounding surprised. "Hannah, you and I go way back. All your life, actually!". A chuckle followed that statement.
Hannah's screwed her face up in a puzzled look. "Nope. Don't recognize the voice. Who are you?" she asked again, starting to sit up a bit now in bed, as she was feeling a bit braver.
"I'm your heart, Hannah," said the voice.
"I didn't know hearts could talk!" Hannah exclaimed, sitting straight up now, eyes widening in her surprise.
"Oh yes, Hannah, of course they can!" laughed her heart. "'It's just that sometimes, you need to listen very carefully. But today, I decided to shout instead of waiting to be listened to."
"Now then, Hannah," said her heart, in a 'you're about to get a telling off' tone of voice."What's all this about you being ordinary? I can hear your thoughts, you know, and I know you've been thinking about this a lot recently. Tell me about it."
Hannah shifted uncomfortably in her bed, wondering if she was dreaming. She decided that if she was, it was a good dream anyway...so she might as well enjoy this strange conversation, since she didn't get the chance to talk much most of the time.
"Well...I...umm...I am..." she trailed off sadly, realizing it wasn't a great answer but hoping that her heart wouldn't notice.
"Uh huh...and why do you say that?" asked her heart, sounding to Hannah like it had indeed noticed.
"I just am..." sighed Hannah. "I'm not really smart or beautiful or a good runner or have anything good about me really...just average, I guess...". Hannah fidgeted with her sleeve again, her eyes downcast.
"Well, I know something good about you, Hannah! ", declared her heart confidently. "Can you guess what it is?".
Hannah wondered briefly if her heart was just teasing her like the big boys did sometimes, and felt her face turn red.
"Think for a moment, Hannah, no rush. I know you'll get there eventually," her heart said gently. Of course, being her heart, it knew what she was thinking and wanted her to know that it was not and never would tease her.
Hannah thought and thought, twirling her brown curls as she did sometimes when she was concentrating, but she just couldn't come up with anything that was good about her. Hot tears welled up in her eyes and she tried hard to gulp down the lump in her throat. She so wished she had something special about her like all the others seemed to have.
"Hannah, you have a good.....something........take a guess then..." prompted her heart, trying to give her a clue.
"Um...bike?" said Hannah, hopefully.
"Nope..." replied her heart, patiently.
"Um....doll's house?" Hannah suggested, wrinkling her nose at such a silly guess.
"Nope..." said her heart.( A little less patiently, Hannah thought to herself, but wasn't quite sure).
"Er....party dress?" she said, knowing it was wrong, but she liked mentioning it because she loved that dress, all pink and frilly and bows everywhere.
"Hannah, what am I, chopped liver??" exclaimed her heart, with a touch of exasperation, but laughing at the same time. (The heart made a mental note to apologize to the liver later.)
" The answer is heart, Hannah, heart, you have a good heart!!!". "I do?" Hannah said, brightening. Hannah had never thought about that before.
"Hey, trust me, I know you do, Hannah. I'm it!" giggled her heart.
"For instance, do you remember when Melissa fell and you helped her the other day when everyone else was laughing?"
"Yes," said Hannah, clenching her tiny fists at the thought of it. "I was mad at them for that. She was hurt."
"And you wiped her tears away, bandaged her sore knee up with your handkerchief, gave her a cuddle, then took her to see the nurse, waited with her to make sure she was okay...". Her heart took a big breath. That was a long speech, after all.
"... and because you did all that you missed your lunch, didn't you? Correct? " reminded her heart.
"Yes, I did, but it didn't matter really, I wasn't that hungry, so it was no big deal," shrugged Hannah, drawing her knees up under her chin. Suddenly it seemed that the stripes on her pyjama sleeves were really interesting to her as she traced their outline up and down with her small fingers. Her heart smiled at this.
" But Hannah, don't you see?" said her heart. "It did matter. You took the time to help. It mattered to you enough to help Melissa when she was hurt, and I can tell you that it certainly mattered to Melissa that you did." The voice of her heart became even softer still.
"Listen very carefully to me, Hannah, please. Don't ever think that you are ordinary, just because you can't do some things as well as the others or because you think they are smarter or prettier or whatever than you. There's no such thing as ordinary. Everyone is special, and have a gift of one kind or another."
"Yours, my dear Hannah, is that you have a good heart. That is your special gift, you see. Even if I do say so myself, a good heart will take you further in this world than you could ever dream of. So you keep listening to me and you'll do just fine!" declared her heart.
Hannah felt her heart swell inside her chest, puffed up with a warm fuzzy feeling she would have found hard to describe. Giggling, she snuggled under the warmth of the covers. "Okay, sounds good to me!" she said, grinning widely as she realized that she was special after all and had been all along.The stars twinkled bigger and brighter than she had ever seen them before as she gazed at them from her pillow, but maybe that was just because her pale blue eyes were shining with happiness. Hannah felt her eyes starting to close as she drifted towards sleep.
"Oh! One last thing before I go. Don't worry about the test tomorrow, Hannah!" exclaimed her heart.
"Why not?" asked Hannah into the darkness.
"Because I think one little girl might be having to get a special presentation tomorrow for being so thoughtful, and it'll be at the same time as the test," whispered her heart. If it had hands, her heart would have been clapping them together with excitement.(It just jiggled the valves a bit instead.)
"Who??" said Hannah, sitting straight back up again, wide awake, knowing that her heart must mean her, but just wanting to tease a little.
"Sheesh..." joked her heart, of course knowing that she knew really, but playing along with her game. Hannah and her heart's mingled laughter drifted away on the night air as she fell into a deep, contented sleep, both of them sure they would talk again.