Heartbreak is a funny thing. No matter how bad it is, no matter how much you ache and suffer, you always know it’ll fade in time. The problem is that this knowledge doesn’t make it hurt any less. And that sucks.
It’s kind of like when you crack your ribs. At first, the pain is nearly unbearable. You don’t know how you’re going to survive even one night, much less a lifetime. It keeps you up at night; it affects your ability to eat. But, eventually, the ache becomes a little less severe—it doesn’t hurt every second, it just hurts every other second. Later, you realize you didn’t even notice you weren’t hurting, so you prod at the bruise a little bit, and BLAM! searing pain, tears, suffering. And then you think you’re completely healed, but you’ll sneeze or reach for something, and, holy crap, there it is, the brutal pain in all its glory. Eventually, though, you heal. And maybe that spot will be tender for a long time, but even that will work itself out eventually.
And that’s what heartbreak is like. At first, everything feels so raw and painful; you don’t know how you’re going keep the million little pieces of yourself together ever again. Then you start to feel better, and believe you’re really going to be okay, but something happens that makes you feel like someone just stuck a shaft through your heart—it’s like the pain splits you in two, and you’re paralyzed—you pass the restaurant where you shared your first kiss, or you come across her toothbrush in medicine cabinet (throw it away immediately, even if you have to give it a little kiss and say goodbye first); the tiniest thing causes a relapse that’s almost as crushing as before. And it’s so easy to poke and prod at that tender spot, just to see if it still hurts. It may hurt for a long time. It may hurt forever. But, usually, time, or finding someone new, or just making peace with the idea that it wasn’t meant to be will heal up the cracks and make you feel whole again.
But heartbreak is wonderful and terrible, and we should embrace it as much as we do the optimism and giddiness that comes before it. As awful as I felt recently, I still had this spark of hope, because at least I knew I could feel that way again—I could recognize potential and beauty, and let myself believe in long-lasting love. Sure, I got it wrong that time, and I should have read the signs so much earlier, but I got a taste of what it feels like to really see a future with someone, and I can’t remember the last time that happened.
And so, instead of shutting down and putting up walls of protection, I’m going to keep my heart open.
Screw it. Walls are for wussies. Yeah, maybe I’ll be more careful in my expressions of admiration and affection, and I’ll be more circumspect in letting my feelings show, but hell if I’m going to do much more than that to gird my heart. That would just be stupid.
Simone is a different story. I’m thinking I dodged a bullet with this one—she and Simone connected, and Simone has asked about her (I said she’s been busy, which is true, and I haven’t made a big deal about it), but because we kept interactions light, Simone sees this woman as just another friend of mine. I’m guessing we’ll run into her in the occasional social situation, and maybe they’ll give each other hugs, but I’m pretty sure Simone’s doing okay. I’m keeping a close eye on her, though. And, yeah, I’ll be much more careful next time, promise.
As for me, I’m learning my lesson, taking a deep breath, and letting myself feel gratitude for the time we did have together, and for the joys I have ahead. Yes, I’m going to go out more often than I have been, and I’m going to flirt, and laugh, and set off virtual fireworks in the streets of Denver, but that’s just part of the healing process.
You know, when you crack your ribs, it’s usually because you were doing something fun and worthwhile. You played hard, you got hurt. Would you rather have it any other way? Not me.