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Only Love Can Break Your Heart

How right Neil was. According to this article, a “broken heart” can cause temporary symptoms that mimic that of a heart attack. Though the effects are typically caused by extreme stress or shock, they are temporary and reversible, unlike the damage done by a real heart attack. This discovery and medical diagnosis may spare people suffering from a broken heart both expensive and/or life threatening procedures.

A broken heart is the universal leveler. Almost everyone has had their heart broken at some point in their lives, and thankfully most of us fully recover. There must be some evolutionary or genetic predisposition to how we are individually affected. It seems like men (perhaps due to the wandering dong syndrome) are less affected by broken hearts than women. But that is a broad generalization. Perhaps men just react differently, say by dating women 1/3 their age.

Whatever the reason, to this day when I tell people about MY broken heart, it seems everyone has a similar story.

I can still recall when my heart was broken. I even unconsciously reach for my heart as that lingering, gnawing feeling returns like an old war wound that twinges when it’s cold and damp out.

It started with a note that included a quaint hand-drawn heart, split in half. I held this white, lined meticulously folded note in my hand, staring hard at the heart, willing myself to dismiss what it meant. My hands were shaking, my knees felt weak, it was completely unexpected. I stood frozen in the hallway with dozens of students whizzing past me, oblivious to my crumbling mental state.

I considered just throwing it away and pretending it never happened, but always the pragmatist, I had to look. I had to know what those words written inside this gingerly prepared letter had to say.

As I recall, the short but pointed message read something like this:

“Dear Dawn,

It’s been a lot of fun, and I enjoyed our time, but it’s over.

I’m sorry.

Love

Superfuckingdickface [name changed to protect the asshole]”

My heart and stomach were in my mouth. I couldn’t swallow, my eyes were filled with the burning sensation of salty liquid. My face was flush and hot. There was this screaming sound in my brain, but it wouldn’t come out. A little squeak emerged and I just flopped down in a chair in the school’s cafeteria and sobbed like a three-year-old who’d lost her beloved blankie.

It was pathetic then, and pathetic now in retrospect.

I was a mess for three years, THREE FUCKING YEARS. Considering what a loser this guy turned out to be, it was terrible waste of emotion. But who can tell a 16-year-old, whose entire outlook on the world had been destroyed, that things will eventually get better?

Since then I have had several other relationships and I have made it a point to never be on the receiving end of the cracked-heart note again, but what that entire experience taught me is that while only love can break your heart, love can mend it again.

About Dawn Olsen