The words in Tony Braxton’s song echo inside my head, but they describe something that seems unattainable – as if it were possible to bring together again the one million pieces of my shattered heart.
From the beginning I knew that by choosing you I was choosing the difficult path. I knew you loved me, but somehow I always felt you would never love me as the one I was leaving for you had loved me during all those years we had been together. And yet I could not help it – ending a stable relationship of several years and causing pain to the person who least deserved it, and falling madly in love with someone who – most probably – was not the right person for me. But by the time I decided you were the one I would neither listen to those who advised caution nor to the voice inside my head that told me to tread carefully. I let myself completely into the passion we felt for each other, and for a time we were ecstatically happy.
From the beginning I loved you with a love that was possessive – and I, who had never really been a jealous woman, became obsessively so. Whenever your eyes strayed – or was it my sick imagination? – I felt the bitter pangs of jealousy gripping my heart. I suffered in silence but after a certain time I could not help making some remarks and you looked at me as if I were crazy. After some time this and other matters became the reason for bitter quarrels, and our relationship became a tumultuous one; we fought, we made up – and how passionate were those reconciliations – and then we fought again. But we never gave up on our relationship, the love we felt for each other was strong and we believed it would conquer all.
If anything grew over the years it was my insecurity. I could not help it – I just didn’t feel secure in your love, and I certainly remembered old times when I felt loved and cherished and above all certain that I was the only one in someone’s life, but you simply couldn’t make me feel that way – or was it that you wouldn’t? And life went on and we had some happy times and some other times that were anything but happy. Many ups and downs, going from the top of the world to the depths of despair, this was how I felt about you. I wondered how you felt about me.
When you began working on Saturdays, because we needed the money, I knew she was also there. There was a lot of work to catch up to and you were the two people in charge. So I spent lonely Saturdays trying not to let my imagination run too wild, or I felt I would go crazy. But you became more and more distant, and after the most horrible holidays when you were always finding excuses to go out by yourself – and I often wondered if it was to call someone back in Lisbon – there came a Saturday when I was so restless that I decided to call your company to know if you wanted to come out earlier for us to go somewhere and talk. When the concierge told me neither you nor your colleague had been seen there all day it hit me like a bomb, and I felt all the suspicions of the last months had been confirmed: you were having an affair.
The feeling was almost unbearable. One thing is to be suspicious and another to have confirmation, because this was as good as it! I felt as if my heart had exploded into a million pieces that would never be able to come together again. I felt a hurt so great it left me limp, exhausted, almost without reaction. And then I cried a flood of tears for my betrayed love, for all I had sacrificed for you, for the future we would not have together. I pictured you in her arms and it was as if a knife were piercing through my heart. I knew I had never felt such pain in my life: the pain of disillusion, of betrayal, of finally realising that my dream of a “happily ever after” was a lie, something that would never be…
When you arrived home that day you had an odd look on your face. I had managed to compose myself and I asked how it had been at work. You murmured something like “all right” and then I couldn’t bear it anymore. All the rage inside me came out and I called you a liar and then I told you I knew everything, that you had not been to work and accused you of cheating on me. And then I wanted to know for how long it had been going on, even if I could almost tell.
You were strangely calm as you denied having an affair. You admitted you had not been to work but you said you were too confused and you had been by yourself, to think about life. You did admit to a certain attraction for her but swore to me it had never gone beyond that.
I didn’t believe you and I felt I couldn’t bear it any longer – so I left home, while you were begging me not to. I couldn’t face you, I hated and loved you so much at the same time that I felt I was going mad.
The following days were hell. The pain and humiliation were unbearable. You came to see me and insisted there had been nothing between you two. You told me you would swear on anything, if only I would come back to you. As time went by, I saw no easy way out of my plight – I was too hurt but I still loved you deeply, passionately, and I didn’t want to give up on this love and all my dreams of a future with you. You were insisting that we give ourselves a new chance and slowly, I began to think that maybe, only maybe this had all been in my mind and you had not cheated on me. And I went back home and we began a new chapter of our life together.
We still lived through some happy moments together, but things were never the same again. And then, slowly, it dawned on me. A broken, shattered heart cannot be “unbroken” or mended. Even if the song says “ Unbreak my heart/ say you’ll love me again/ undo this hurt you caused/ …uncry these tears… /…come and kiss the pain away”, and at a certain point I desperately wanted to believe it, one day you realize it’s simply not possible, and your heart will never beat wholly again for that person who has broken it.
When, inevitably, the day came when we concluded that our paths would have to part, my heart could not be broken one second time. I was not even unhappy, just sad because this love I had thought was for life would not be so, in the end. Strangely, I felt relieved that this story that had given me so much happiness, but also such misery, was at an end. And then I realized it was not hurting because, somewhere along the way, my broken heart had stopped beating for you, and all the love and passion I had felt for you were no more. And we parted without tears.
And then one day, sometime after, I was astonished to find that, somewhat miraculously, all the pieces of my shattered heart had come together without my realizing it, and that it was whole again. More – it was beating for someone. And this time, I have this feeling I never had with you. This feeling of trust, of strongly believing it will not be broken again.