Lately, I've had this quote stuck in my head, one that had to do with hearts being like glass: "Even the way they break is beautiful."
Why was this quote about heartbreak going around and around in my head? I didn't know. Then, when I first got back to New York, I met Jenny for drinks and Auction House. We talked for hours, and somehow we got to talking about ex-boyfriends. I hadn't really known her when Mr. B and I were together, and when I explained why we broke up, she was shocked...almost as shocked as I was when I heard these words escape my mouth: "He broke my heart."
I was about to take it back. I hadn't been in love with him...had I? Could someone you weren't in love with break your heart? In that moment, I realized someone really could. I finally understood why people link romance to an organ, the heart. I understood why the end of romance was called heartbreak: because sometimes that's actually how it feels.
When Mr. B accused me of lying, it felt like an actual knife slitting open my heart, which then turned inside out. I remember clutching my chest from the pain, and tears springing from my eyes. It was instant. Normally, there is a progression for tears (your throat gets a lump in it, your face feels hot and tears well up in your eyes), but not this time. They were instant. I was speechless, crying, fighting just to breathe. It sounds really dramatic, but that's just how it was. My heart broke.
I blocked it out, though, or talked myself out of it. I wasn't in love with him, right? And even if I had been, it was over. What good could it do to dwell on it? On the other hand, can you fix something by ignoring it? When I decided to have sex with Mr.B, I did it in part because I suspected keeping myself separate physically was a way to keep myself apart emotionally. I was putting my heart on the line, trying to make myself open to love. When Mr. B responded so callously, it was my worst fear come true.
Thursday I had to see Mr. B again for the first time in months. It was hard. When I saw him, I was simultaneously angry and attracted. I tried to act indifferent, but he was just so friendly that I tried to be friendly, too. We have to work together, and treating him unkindly won't help me heal. I don't think I'm sorry I chose him, either. It's a part of my life now, and I love my life.
Today I went online to figure out the exact quote was and where it was from. It turned out to be from Everwood (Season 2, Episode 18, "Last Looks). I'm not sure it applies to me, exactly, but I can certainly see why it's been stuck in my head. Two characters broke up, and as the episode ended, Irv the narrator summed it up perfectly:
"A heart is a fragile thing. That's why we protect them so vigorously, give them away so rarely, and why it means so much when we do. Some hearts are more fragile than others, purer somehow, like crystal in a world of glass. Even the way they shatter is beautiful."