wooden blocks in shape of heart

After a breakup, it can feel more than a little terrifying to put your heart on the line again. Your self esteem is shattered, your ego bruised; there are a million cliches for the pain and the ache and the loneliness you experience.

You may spend weeks, months, even years in a sort of cautious romantic recovery mode. There’s some self-discovery. Some personal growth. Maybe you sign up for an art class or take up cooking.

You do a little healing.

Then, one day, some of the numbness dissipates. You delicately pluck your heart from its protective chamber and consider offering it up to the world again. Like a street merchant drawing attention to his wares, you put your heart on display before a new pool of romantic prospects. You’re hopeful. Optimistic that this time, this time, you’ll attract something that sticks.

Someone spits on it.

Someone else carelessly knocks it aside.

A third takes a jagged grapefruit spoon and haphazardly carves out a chunk of it. Leftover citrus sears the open wound. Hardening it. Scarring it.

You wonder if you should give up. Retreat to safety. Because nothing about this is fun.

Then, finally.

A kind stranger walks through the door.

He smiles down at the torn and tattered organ you’ve tentatively extended to him. He reaches out, cradles it in his hands. Holds it like it matters. Like you maybe matter.

Slowly, you make the transfer. Day by day, week by week, you dole out a little bit more. He accepts with open arms. Treats each piece with care.

A few months later, and the process is complete. He’s got it all. You’re in this thing.

And you’re vulnerable. Again. Again.

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