A lived with sadness. She called it her pet, and carried it around, tucked quietly beneath the left hand side of her ribcage. When she met new people, it peeped out at them, tremulous and shy from her eyes. The people she knew best, and who knew her were very familiar with the sadness. They watched it dampen and diminish her. Some of them accepted it, and some resented it. It drove people away, which in several instances made the sadness grow. It sat behind her ribcage like a pouting child when she was occupied or distracted with anything that made her happy. It would pick away at her internally, the way it would pluck at her sleeve had it the ability to exist separately from her. But it did not have this ability. It was enmeshed with her. Her pet that she created and nurtured and nourished. It was hearty, her sadness. It had been sheltered from do-gooders seeking to show her a path to happiness. It had been fed a startlingly heavy diet of terrible stories from the news. It's appetite grew and it urged her ever forward toward more tales of gruesomeness, of injustice, of pain and despair.
B lived joyfully. She felt buoyant and vividly colored. Her happiness lived in her, sometimes tucked beneath the ribs on the left side of her chest, sometimes in her limbs, sometimes it coursed through her in torrents of energy like electricity. When people met her, they could see the joy glowing in her eyes, and they could feel it's energy as it moved through her. She felt to them like a cool breeze, or like sunlight, or like the fragrance of fields in summer. It depended on the person. Everyone who knew her smiled at the mention of her name. She had cultivated her joy. She fed it from books about hope and wonder. Films about redemption and love. Stories that ended in laughter. She was constantly aware and attentive to her joy, and it thrived. She lived fully in the moment, and found that it is the place where contentment resides.
A and B met, randomly and though a mutual acquaintance. As A watched B speak, there was a shift in her. The sadness did not recoil immediately as it so often did. It lifted it's dark and worried face briefly to B's warmth and felt a shimmer of something like hope before it hid away. A's heart pounded. She felt confused and a little angry. She felt a lingering warmth on her skin like sunlight dancing on closed eyelids. It was a very small shift to be sure, but a shift nonetheless. And when the women parted, and went their separate ways, they carried with them the lives they had created for themselves. A held her sorrow. B held her peace.