When you’re young and your heart is broken you know it all the time. You dwell on it constantly, you replay all your feelings over and over again in your head. You obsess over every detail of any memory involving the relationship that caused it. It is a full time job.
Maybe it’s because at that time your life is still in front of you and it seems like the biggest thing you’ve had to face up until that point. There may have been other traumas, greater pains, but a broken heart is just so personal and it all belongs to you. You control it, you give it its power.
Then, when you’re older, and your heart gets broken it kind of goes unnoticed a lot of the time. Maybe there’s more going on, you’ve become more jaded, who knows why it is. Now your broken heart is a dull ache, festering away somewhere and you can’t quite focus on it. You vaguely know it’s there but you try not to make eye-contact with it, tiptoe past it and let it sleep.
Then you see something, hear a song, or notice some fragrance and the pain of that broken heart hits you from out of nowhere. It knocks you backward, you can’t breathe, tears well up in your eyes and it hurts so much worse than it ever did when you were young.
That’s the bitch of the thing. When you’re older that broken heart may not scream at you every minute, but all those years have accumulated a lot more hurt, a lot more disappointment, and you feel every ounce of every emotion your life has ever produced, and it’s going to score a direct hit.
© David Ferraris 2011