There’s a particular brand of heartache that comes at the end of something too new to have been anything at all. It’s nothing and yet, despite its nothingness, it’s still something enough that you notice it when it’s gone.
There should be a word for that. I’ll bet the Germans have a word for it. Or perhaps the Inuit languages would have me covered. Nothing in English feels quite right.
I’m not heartbroken. My heart was not totally wrapped up in this other person yet, but it did hope to be. My heart did naively allow itself to picture introducing this person to my friends. Imagine a birthday dinner with one extra person at the table. Fantasize about Sunday afternoons on the couch, my legs over his.
I’m not heartbroken. But my heart doesn’t exactly feel great because mixed up in the cheek-flushing hurt and disappointment is the cheek-flushing shame that I’m even this upset, to begin with. How embarrassing to get your hopes up so quickly. How silly to have thought something could be different this time. How mortifying to have taken him at his word. How ridiculous to cry when he takes it back.
I’m not heartbroken. I haven’t lost a great love of my life. We never got to the love part. We had only just barely arrived at the like part. This feels different than the bittersweet loss of a friendship or the all-consuming grief of losing a loved one or the disorienting way you feel for a few months like you’ve lost a limb when the person you shared a bed with for years no longer sleeps on their side.
I’m not heartbroken so it’s probably a little melodramatic to be feeling all these feelings at all. But when your hopes float up and then crash down, what are we supposed to call that?
I’m not heartbroken. Maybe a little heart bruised. We need a word for that.
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