You learn not to assume things. You learn not to assume that the day you spent together in bed and took photos of each other against that white wall was important to both of you. In reality, only one of you will ever care about that day. Only one of you will flinch when you see the white wall again. The other person will forget it ever happened. You’ll have to remind them, years later when you meet for coffee, about the pictures and you’ll feel so stupid for holding it so dear. Why do you have to be the one who remembers that day? You assumed that your memories would be the same. You didn’t know that one gets to forget and the other has to remember.
You learn that the person who once protected you from all harm could one day become the harm. They could become the thing they spent so much time shielding you from. That’s how it always seems to work though, doesn’t? We give people power over our lives, we let them dictate the rhythms, and then we act surprised when there’s scratches.
You learn about the cruelty of time, the cruelty of fickleness. You learn that it’s possible for the person who knew you the best to eventually know nothing at all. You counted on them always knowing. You took solace in someone keeping score. But reliance is the first thing to go in a break up. You lose the right to call someone. You lose the right to ask how they’re doing. Imagine that. One day you had a VIP pass to their life and the next, you’re shut out completely. They’ll tell their grandma more things than they’d tell you.
You learn how bad heartbreak can hurt. All of a sudden you’ll be relating to sad love songs and feeling like such a chump. You listened to them before but never quite understood why they had so much resonance with people. Then you realized that it’s strictly for people who’ve dealt with the loss of love. To get the full effect of a Patsy Cline song, someone has to take an emotional dump on your face. Otherwise you’ll just be like “Gee, this lady sure sounds sad!
You’ll learn terrifying things about yourself. Most notably, the fact that heartbreak will turn you insane and obsessive. It makes you irrational and cripplingly nostalgic. (Your friends will even get fed up with you for a bit because you’re so cray cray.) There’s no real way to fix a broken heart other than time and sleeping with the next person you could potentially love. It takes someone’s else dick to get over the last one.
Most importantly, you’ll learn that it will all be okay in the end. Just like time killed your relationship, it will also be the thing that repairs you. Eventually enough time will pass that you’ll have nothing left to mourn. You’ll develop swiss cheese holes in your memory about the relationship. All you’ll recall are occasional flashes of happiness and feel grateful for it. You understand that this is just how life works. You fall in and out of love with people until you land somewhere that makes sense. You’ve learned a new secret about life and people. You get it now.
It’s bitter to know. It’s better to know.