The Statute of Limitations on Heartbreak
A few weeks ago, on the train back to Boston from a long weekend, I got a paragraph from an unsaved number.
Hey, ik this is crazy random, but been doing a lot of reflecting over the past few weeks, and want to say sorry for never responding to your texts 4 years ago. Loling at myself typing 4 years ago… but it is true. So, yeah, ik that doesn’t make what I did better, but i am sorry and wanted you to know.
After a little bit of sleuthing, and mostly just asking who he was and what the text said, I got more context clues. It was someone I dated for about a month over winter break, and we ended things amicably as we both went back to college. The text? Asking to hang out one last time. If we’re being honest, I hadn’t thought about it in years, whispering what happened to my diary and closing the pages on that small chapter of my life.
What caught me as a surprise was that I didn’t think it was anything that needed to be apologized for. Appreciative for the thought, but to me, there was no penance required. If anyone should have apologized, it should have been me for taking him on a date to Moe’s Southwest Grill. It also made me think about the hurt I’ve felt that’s never been claimed — and the people I’ve hurt unapologetically. The things I’ve never apologized for felt like stains on my record — if he could apologize for ghosting after all these years should I apologize for the hearts I’ve broken? The people I’ve ghosted? The things left unresolved, puzzle pieces strung out across the table and left to collect dust.
All of this makes me wonder — what’s the statute of limitations on heartbreak? If he was apologizing for ghosting some four years later, what else would fall under that umbrella? Did the composition of an apology lend itself to every relational experience? Were there things you couldn’t apologize for?
The first answer is to say that I don’t know. The second answer is to say that if the analogy (and the references to all of the Law & Order I’ve watched) carries, then it would have to vary on a case by case basis. There isn’t enough time in the world to apologize to everyone you’ve ghosted, and in many cases, had a good reason to do so. The bigger things? That should be an ongoing conversation. Sometimes it takes time to realize the amount of hurt, and even longer to muster up an apology that encases understanding of how you’ve hurt another person. Sometimes closure is unreachable, the webs get too tangled, and it’s best to not pull at the veins of a broken relationship. Sometimes it’s best to leave things where they lie.
In a perfect world, we would be able to limit the amount of hurt that we take ourselves and deal onto other people, sometimes in return. We would be able to limit the number of times we hurt someone because we were hurt by someone different. There is no true statute of limitations on heartbreak — hurt takes time to heal and move on from, and apologies, even sometimes delayed ones, can mean more than we think they do. Sometimes even years after the fact, the recognition of pain is one of the first steps towards healing.
and now, this:
what i’m listening to:
- fallingwater, maggie rogers
- movement, hozier
- i want love, elton john
on this day in history, 12th grade, my diary
It hasn’t been easy, this whole month/week/day, but I believe that is has been worth it. Naturally, not a lot has happened, but I need to fill myself in from August to now. I joined the Cross Country team, and the coach believes that I can be good, so I think that’s what I am going to be. I am not doing the musical which I kind of regret walking away from but I can say that now somewhat forgetting how hurt I was by the fact that I never got to show how good I can be. I still want to be in the show but I know now that I would be miserable in a part that I never wanted in the first place. Jade and I have been doing the announcements and I think that everyone likes them which is a good thing. It’s nice that my voice can reach so many people and somewhat brighten someone (anyone’s) day.