Heartbruise, not heartbreak

How do you mourn something that never really was?

Most people have been to Heartbreak Hovel; that awful, desolate space where it’s all you can do to curl up in foetal position and rock slowly in the bath emitting ghoulish wails of despair. It feels like your heart’s been pulped in a French press and a sumo wrestler is using your lungs as a butt cushion. You feel justified in taking a few days off work (what are personal days for if not hangovers and heartbreak?) and your friends drop everything to coddle you back to life with tea and hair-stroking.

But what if it’s not a relationship that has come to a devastating end? What if it’s just a minor flirtation and the hope of something more? A person you went out with a few times rebuffing you in a gentle way, or becoming so flaky that you decide to call it?

Like Tai burning her Rollin’ With The Homies tape, I think that ritualising the end of something (whatever it is) can bring closure (whatever that is).

In the case of heartbreak, you’d listen to your song on repeat. In the case of heartbruise, I’d suggest listening to this:

…because it’s emotive but not ‘vodka in the shower’ depressing, and Paolo Nutini is perfect fantasy-fodder with his glass-cutting cheekbones, smouldering eyes and Crunchy Nut voice (honeyed but with bite).


…because thinking about Ryan carrying Marissa away from that flaming car shell, and how terrible The OC got after season 3, will put your pain in perspective.

For heartbreak, you’d subsist on a diet of wine and icecream for a few weeks. For heartbruise, I’d prescribe one evening of wallowing (cathartic rather than self-destructive).


Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough icecream is a good one-off. I’m always paranoid that my body heat will cause raw cookie dough lumps to grow and bake into actual cookies in my stomach. Much like how when birds peck up the rice that gets thrown at weddings it swells up in their tummies and causes them to explode (scientific fact). That, plus the fact that it’s like a billion calories (it’s essentially frozen cellulite) means that this delicious beast is best confined to the occasional emotional nadir.

And I guess the usual other principles apply. It’s helpful to unfollow their posts on Facebook. And a new project is always warranted. Best thing about heartbruise is that it’s a lot easier to bounce back from; happiness (and Travis Birkenstock?) are just one scene away.

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