Fight or Flight

I assumed I would remember heartache when it hit me. I expected my body to adjust accordingly, and for my immune system to kick in with those memory cells. I knew it would be miserable, still I thought it would be recognizable too. But nothing about this hurt in my heart is familiar.

I know the science behind it – the cortisol and the dopamine and all of that. I know that the crushing sensation in my chest is all hormones and not daggers. I know the headaches and digestive upsets and muscle soreness are from misdirected blood flow. I feel sick to my stomach because I am. My body is not cut out to run this way, not for any length of time.

So I go on with my life, but it’s just motions and reactions. I get by. I meet the minimum expectations. I do just enough to convince everyone that I’m not a flight risk. I’m surviving, but I’m not living. I don’t want to live without you. Death isn’t on my agenda, but how can I go on adventuring without my heart?

Your absence is squeezing me to pieces. I think back to the kisses and hugs when you left my house, promising that everything would be okay. And I sob for that version of myself. She had no idea those would be the last. She couldn’t have known they’d haunt her this way just two weeks later.

I’ve lost ten pounds without meaning to. I’ve lost my appetite, my drive, my focus. I’m using everything I have left not to lose my mind entirely. My body is reacting to heartbreak the same way it reacts to physical threats. Fight or flight. But I can’t very well fight your worries now when you’ve already called it quits. And I can’t bring myself to run because every piece of me wants to wait and win you back.

I assumed I could pick heartache out of a lineup in a split second. I was wrong. I’ve been hurt by many, shattered by few, but only you have absolutely wrecked me this way.

I didn’t know a body and soul could withstand this sort of torment. I didn’t know I could love you so fiercely and, in the blink of an eye, be a tattered mess of desperation. I’ve been conditioned to believe that there’s something poetic about a broken heart; I wish the sirens and screaming in my head would quiet long enough for me to find it.

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