We break our own hearts

It goes like this: he holds you like a question mark and you never ask him why. With his toned arms and bodily warmth, he presses you close against him and you ask where he goes in the middle of the night while you’re asleep. Locker room party, he says, and you think that’s just what senior boys do. Maybe the world is cruel and some prettier girl broke his heart — that’s why he’s emotionally detached. Or maybe he just doesn’t care. That night, he yells halfway past the moon “I’ll be back!” followed only by the sound of running steps fading into the abyss. And even though you know he’ll knock on your door at 3am, you learn how to pretend you’re not broken inside.

But you’re so broken, you can’t possibly piece yourself together without a sample picture of what the completed, healed you is supposed to look like.

It goes like this: he doesn’t come back one day. He chops off his golden locks, stops texting you and starts smoking weed on the roof of someone else who believes in mending broken pieces. Your mother says she told you so and your friends pour tequila down your throat like some kind of consultation prize. They tell you he’s a fool. That you’re too good for him. That he just used you. And you let them think you agree. Another shot, please! You tear and you crash and you crave but you survive. At night, you begin to remember that he smelled like secrets and women and somehow, you confused this with hope.

How were you so blind?

It goes like this: when you finally forget how to pretend at night, curled like a child under the covers of a bed that is suddenly bigger than all the galaxies combined, you’ll learn how to forgive yourself or maybe how to hate yourself, but at least you’ll begin to understand yourself and how much you’re worth. How much pain you’ve suffered, and how much of it you’ve survived.

All of it.

So let me tell you a story I wish I’d known. It goes like this: we break our own damn hearts.

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