To The Broken Ones

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You are damaged and lost and struggling your way out of this deep shit, and I will do anything for you. I will rush home from a salsa party and skype with you because you are drunk and alone in your hotel room in Geneva and trying to contemplate how to get out of the dark abyss. I will be online with you in silence. I will stay up til later and not think about the time difference because you need someone who will listen. You will tell me that you started reading Paulo Coelho and I will tell you how terrible that is because he is dark and depressing and you don’t need dark and depressing right now. What you need is Bukowski and I will send his poems to you by email. Side by side with Hemingway so you can distract yourself from the pain even for a few stolen minutes. Yes, you have a broken heart, but I will not let you have bad taste in literature.

I know none of this will help–not my advice that I have stolen from self-help books, not Bukowski, not even the fact that you are hopping from one train ride to one European country to another. Over those long train rides to France, to Macedonia, and to wherever your map is taking you, brace yourself–you will remember her–the smell of her hair, the way the sunlight through the window touches her skin in the morning, the way her voice sounds in your ears. You will remember it all.

And in this unexpected nostalgia, you will feel more alone than ever. More abandoned. And you will be scared and caught off guard. And you will convince yourself that it is impossible to still feel that way after a long, hard year. But you will not be convinced.

Deep down, you know that eight years boil down to eight years. And no matter how you turn the world upside down, everything still amounts to the eight years you spent with her, and the same eight years that you will never get back.

You will feel heavy, and sometimes you will feel a gaping hole. There will be days when everything won’t make any sense, and you will try to forget with alcohol, with art, with expensive coffee, with the Eiffel Tower, with every girl you meet on the road.

You will cheat your heart, kiss beautiful girls you have a chance on kissing. And you will still be frustrated.

I know all of these not because I am any wiser but because goddamnit I am just as silly and hopeless like you. I’ve been there and I know how much it hurts. I was 18 and this boy charmed me with his music and I thought that was love. I lost my virginity at 21 to my college boyfriend in my residence hall on a winter night and thought that that was also love. And I remember crying buckets over a backpacker I met whose itinerary did not end in my direction, thinking that, too, was love. Most of all, I remember unkempt promises and wasted time and forgotten dreams and a broken heart.

So I will skype with you until the morning and listen to you pour your heart out the way you did when my Australian boyfriend disappeared, when my Italian boyfriend left me. And I will tell you the world’s number one cliche–it will be okay. Because everything will be healed and made new with time.

I will tell you that everything will work out. Because, eventually, it always does. Wounds heal, scars vanish, pain numbs your skin. Ten years from now, I won’t remember the thick accent of that French guy, or the way I felt when I had my first and only new year’s eve kiss, or the way my Egyptian ex boyfriend told me he loved me in the middle of the desert. I won’t remember dancing salsa with that Italian guy while listening to all his favorite Latin songs in repeat. I won’t even remember the title of those songs. And you will not remember the time you spent with her in Thailand, or that English girl you kissed on Christmas day, or that Aussie girl you met in Zurich. You won’t remember the girl you loved in a small island in the Philippines, the girl you fell in love with over tajine in Morocco, the way that girl from Macedonia held your stare, the way you were sure that it felt whimsical, and mysterious–none of these will matter. Everything will be forgotten.

But the thing is, I am a big, fat liar. Because we will remember. I will remember all of those boys, and you will remember all of those girls. And it will hurt but it will be okay. When you think about it, what kind of heart does not look back?

There will be better days. The pain will lessen little by little, the hole in your gut will decrease inch by inch. But I am lying and you will know I am lying and you will still feel broken. But please know that it will be alright in the end.

One of these days, you will wake up in the middle of the night and remember the way someone held your hand in the peak of summer and it felt comfortable. You will think of the way someone kissed you on a minus 4 weather and it felt warm. You will be reminded of how her hellos sent goosebumps down your spine and how her goodbyes left you chilling to the bone. You will read a certain book or listen to a particular song and everything will be back in a flash. It will never completely go away, but it’s alright. It’s okay. This is what breaks you but this is also the very same thing that makes you.

You don’t have to be fixed today. There’s nothing wrong in being damaged. Everything takes time, much more healing. If you have to be broken, then be broken. If you must feel pain, then so be it. Just don’t lose yourself in the process because I know you and I see your potential–in life, in love, in misery, in sadness. So, feel it all. Do not deny yourself these emotions. Claim it. It’s okay, you will breathe again.

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