Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Of Broken Hearts and Love

Too often, young men and women lose their faith in themselves and humanity when their hearts get crushed to a pulp, beaten blue, shattered into a million pieces, torn asunder, or to put it simply, broken apart. Love becomes a traitor, it becomes a taunt, it tortures the weeping soul to no end. The whole experience would seem like a curse, a haunting nightmare, and a sort of death to many. There is gut-wrenching pain, a black void, a loss of something so precious and dear. Heartbreak is one thing each person experiences in some way in one's lifetime, something as permanent as life and death itself. 

The loss of a love happens to anyone, whether expected or not.

The experience has seen history and literature chronicle its many forms, dramatic or extraordinary in some way. Love is lost in palaces and cobblestoned streets, in meadows and in gardens, on land or at sea, in times of peace or in times of upheaval. Music and dance express the swirling human emotions as it evokes bittersweet memories in sound and movement. Little ditties end up sounding like funeral dirges, notes start in a minor key, and mournful voices are raised to the high heavens. Dance becomes a melancholy affair, alternately swirling with the desperation and denial of loss, a call to the fickle Cupid to bring the loved one back in one's arms. Even science involves itself in the experience of the loss of a love, mystified by the psychosomatic diseases brought upon by heartbreak.

A young man would often cry inside, face the world unsmiling, forcing his way through his usual routine without his beloved, volatile and sensitive. He may choose to talk and talk and talk, or not talk at all. He would either get drunk, get angry, or get incredibly and emotionally mushy in trying to deal with the loss. He contemplates whether it really was his fault that the girl left him for a better guy, whether he should take revenge (if the guy is a bastard and an arsole and a half), or whether he should come crawling back to the girl of his dreams. Ask him if he's alright, and he replies with a shrug or a grunt, then leaves in a huff. He goes out with the guys, drowning his sorrows in the bottles of vodka or cheap beer, seeking other guys' opinion on why he should stop pitying himself and start looking for another girl. Or maybe he sheds a tear before his head hits the sack for a dreamless sleep. He may start exhibiting self-destructive behavior like punching a concrete wall until his fist becomes a gnarled mass of broken bone and tissue, cutting his wrists, taking out his anger and pain on helpless animals (psycho alert!), or pretty much anything that points to 'wimping out because of the emotional pain' aka suicide. 

The young woman would show up with puffy eyes, and a face that could make a gargoyle weep and flee. Her friends will give her a hug while she slowly finishes off a bar of chocolate to relieve her anxiety. She would engage in picking at her food, even if it were so delicious, but she has no appetite for it. She goes around walking like a zombie, paying almost no attention to the boring lectures, and automatically checks her cellphone for any sign of the lost beloved. After all, the lost beloved was the first one who proclaimed his extreme like for her, and wooed her with his best gentlemanly ways. She's always wondering how the gentleman died and was replaced by an asshole who couldn't keep his eyes (and probably his hands) roving over other young women. She might engage in long sessions with the bottle, or sweets, but in the end, she calls for a big girl powwow with her barkada amidst junk food and movies like Troy where the eye candy is much much much better than the average schmuck that she once dated. What man doesn't have the beauty and brawn of Hector, Achilles, or Paris?

Now where was I?

Oftentimes, these young men and women seek comfort in words and the company of friends who can help absorb the shock and the grief. Too many times, the heartbroken are filled with bitterness and hate. They would profess that love is a joke, a bane, a cruelty, probably knowing that deep inside their hearts, it would the first thing that can heal them. 

As a friend, I am to soothe their agitation, to apply some balm to their raw hearts, to whisper words of comfort, to wipe away the endless tears, to listen to their pained thoughts, to interrupt their hyperventilation with a glass of water, to lull them to a dreamless sleep when they are too hurt, to let them vent their anger in the soccer field, and to love them despite their temporary insanity. The expense of boxes of Kleenex, cups of hot choco or low-fat frappes, cellphone load for endless messages and calls, retail therapy, DVD rentals, gym memberships, arcade tickets, go-cart passes, shooting range tokens, and spa treatments are nothing when it comes to helping a friend in dire need of reassurance and comfort. After all, I did go through the same thing, and they were my pillars of strength when I initially had nothing to start with.

I observe a remarkable phenomenon that after the storm, one emerges battered yet not beaten. One may hurt over the loss over any given period of time before acceptance finally sinks in. And one moves on, leaving some part of the self with the past with a resolve to seek love again.

How powerful love can be.

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