I was telling my tale of woe to Sea. The train pulled away from the station. We were moving so fast the lights in the tunnel left trails as we pulsed by them, away from one city, fast approaching another. Every time anyone explains a breakup, they do so knowing it’s simply another story in the universal collection of hearts turning to ash. My telling was no exception. Sea’s eyes carefully studying me as the words fell out of my heart lips, and I knew my particular brand of sadness was not something to be cherished. It was not a revelation. It was as old as society, as agriculture, as normalcy.
I tried to keep my gaze up as I spoke, though I kept drifting down to the skinny brown belt around her turquoise pants. She resembled a redheaded Audrey Hepburn. How much I wished we were talking about fashion, misconducted workplace behavior, and the absurdity of life, instead of the emotional pillaging I had taken since we last had a chance to stand and catch up.
My story wound down, the final three-mile break-up walk coming to a close, and Sea was still watching me. Only now a glistening sheen clouded her eyes, and for a moment my thoughts escaped me and I was worried she would begin to cry. I was certain my yarn spinning wouldn’t evoke such emotion, and so I asked her if she was alright. She blinked twice. Then looking out the window at the nothingness around us, she said “I just can’t believe the way some people treat others.”
I’m sure more conversation was spun until her stop, about how she was sorry to hear of what had happened and how it was likely for the best. Sure, it spurred me to make a life-changing decision toward boldness and adventure. I nodded, she nodded. And eventually we were on our separate ways with nothing but memory between us.
But what stayed in my mind wasn’t the nodding and the common chatter. What stayed was the idea that there is an amazing girl in the world who has the heart of a superhero. Who believes people are better than good, despite all the evidence to the contrary. And more so, this girl is able to hear a story that is like so many others and understand the exact importance of that one story to this one person – which is no small feat. Sea listened and responded as though this were her story or as though she’d rarely come across a heart not in its right place.
And I think this is what every broken heart needs.