What does it mean to have a broken heart?
I always used to assume that it was descriptive of that horrible aching pain that I felt in my chest for almost a year afterwards.
But after the hurt subsided, after the rough lacerated edges were numbed by time, I found another interpretation. I came to realise that my heart was still broken - broken in that it didn't work anymore. Of course it still pumped freshly oxygenated blood around my body with mindless efficiency, often in spite of me, but I am referring to the supposed romantic function of the heart. That which enables us to fall and to be in love. I didn't seem to be able to do that anymore.
I went through a string of very short relationships because I found that once the initial novelty wore off (usually at about the 2 week mark) I felt nothing. It was like I was dead inside. I seemed to be incapable of feeling anything other than a mild affection. I remember one evening where despite her best efforts I was sincerely more interested in what was on television than in the girl on the couch beside me. Broken. All broken.
After several years of this flat numb existence something started to work again. I fell in love once more and it was only then that I fully appreciated how lonely I had been. Now though, the pain in my chest is back - and I can feel that under there somewhere, beneath that ache, something has broken again. Already I have felt that emptiness, that numbness, that sudden ambivalence. Maybe it will fix itself again in time, but maybe it won't. Maybe if it does this time then next time it won't. Surely you can trash something only so many times before it breaks for good. Then I will be empty and numb for the rest of my life.
Sometimes I think this would be a good thing.