Editorial by Rebecca Bennett

400 words, 2 minutes reading time
Issue 1 (Winter, February 2023)

Often, in stories, relationships are precarious. They are at the end stage: a death, a divorce, a cheating spouse who needs to be brutally murdered by a husband who’s just misunderstood. Or, they are at the beginning: a first tentative touch, a longing look, a sudden jolt of a love potion making its way into your veins.

When I hit my 30s, I started craving works that featured a more long-term view. With characters settled into each other (often the 3rd book in a series). Older, wiser, and maybe a little tired of everyone’s bullshit. It was rare to find stories with older protagonists, especially those who had a strong relationship to lean on. It took me years to forge my own friendships and I wanted more in my fiction.

In my teens and early 20s, I didn’t have long-lasting connections. I wish I had today’s language back then, words like gray ace or demisexual were concepts I would have loved to explore in a supportive environment. Rather than rummaging through them inside my own mind, wondering what was wrong with me.

I had made friends easily, keeping them was harder. By my 20s, I discovered there was a three-year-limit to friendships. Once that third year rolled around, people tended to let go of me. Or I let go of them. I spent years working on that, being a more active participant rather than letting a friendship begin its slow fade. I still left friends behind. Didn’t reach out for years, still haven’t. Anxiety and depression can alter your mindset, making any missteps seem like unclimbable mountains. The inaction of not answering a text immediately, became never answering that text at all.

This year though. This year I celebrated my 16th anniversary with my partner. This year I celebrated an 18th anniversary with a close friend. These aren’t numbers I expected to see when I was younger.

The friendships I have now are few, but measured in decades.

Heartlines Spec contains the challenges, and joys, and frustrations that come with those long-lasting connections. It’s a mother you never understood, a friendship that’s fierce but changing, the quiet gratitude of sipping champagne with someone you love.

In palmistry, the heart line is a representation of the depth, longevity and complexity to the relationships in your life. Our Heartline features partners, families, lovers, and friends. The relationships in our first issue are varied but strong.

To all our readers: trust us with your heart, know that we will keep it safe. We hope you stay with us for years to come, until opening this book feels like greeting an old friend.

Rebecca Bennett writes speculative fiction with small town flair. Her short stories and poetry have been published in Translunar Travellers Lounge, Strange Horizons, Bourbon Penn, Luna Station Quarterly and other literary locations. She is Managing Editor at Heartlines Spec and also wields minor power as a Senior Editor at Apparition Lit. You can follow her occasional tweets at @_rebeccab