I can handle the initial pangs of heartbreak.
The all-consuming shock, the constant tears, the wallowing in self-pity. The texts and calls from friends asking if you are okay. The tubs of ice cream, and the constant over-analysis of “Why did this happen to me, to us?” Deleting them on Facebook. Going through photos—perhaps keeping the ones where you look good, but furiously deleting others. Your inner voice telling yourself that you have “3 weeks to get through this shit” and then it’s back to the gym, back to your old life.
It’s the “after” part that’s really tough. When your heart softly aches instead of making you feel like your chest is going to split in two.
When you go for whole hours, or even a day or two without thinking about them. And then you see someone who looks like them from behind, and your heart jolts again, if only for a second.
When you start to forget the tone of their voice, or the sound of their laughter. When they disappear from your frequent calls list, because you haven’t heard from them in weeks, and eventually, months. When Saturday nights with friends or family become routine again, after so many weekends that you used to spend with them.
It’s when there’s nothing left to analyze, and your friends have stopped looking at you with a worried, sympathetic gaze.
Of course, this is good, you know? It means you are mending. But it also means that you are moving on. A couple of days after the break-up, or a couple of weeks in… you still had hope. You kept that window open.
Now it’s closed. Sure, it may not be locked shut forever. But for now, everything has faded like dirty dish water slowly going down the drain.
And it hurts because you know the same thing is happening to them, even more so if they were the one who did the breaking up. They have thrown out the gifts you gave them, or maybe donated them if they were expensive. Their pain has subsided, and they wake up smiling again, even when you’re not beside them. Someone mentions, “Have you ever been to the wineries?” and they almost say no, because they have almost forgotten the trip you guys made so long ago. It’s torture to think that inch by inch, your name means less to them. And that maybe they’re already dating someone new.
Eventually, you will move on to someone else, too. And the memories, once so loud, will have finally faded to a distant murmur. You will start referring to him as “my ex” or “this person I dated last year” and maybe even say, “Good for them,” when their profile picture changes and there’s somebody new there next to him. Someone where you used to be.
You’re not there yet, but perhaps you’re halfway to that point. After all, life constantly moves forward. The heart doesn’t break. It’s a muscle, and it can only get stronger.