How to Heal Heartbreak

Things don’t always play out the way you plan them to. It doesn’t matter how many lists you make or journals you fill with your version of “perfection”. Reality just doesn’t match up.


I remember that day in vivid detail; the midday july heat beating down on my neck and the trees, cloaked with cicadas hissing as if announcing the arrival of summer. Over the haze of green, I could see inky black clouds rolling in and darkening the blue sky.  


How did I get here? I wondered.


I was supposed to be packing. We all were. We were supposed to be getting ready to board the airplane that would take us far away from the thick New England heat and to the crystal clear water of the Bahamas. But no. Instead I was sitting on the front steps, listening to sirens wiz past as the ambulance carrying my father rushed to the hospital.


Surly, I was being selfish. I shouldn’t have been sitting there sobbing into my hands as my little brothers sat alone inside wondering where mommy and daddy are. I should have pulled on a brave face and gone to comfort them. So I did. I stood up, wiped at my tear stained cheeks and made my way inside, closing the door behind me to block out the sirens fading away into the distance.


The day was long and hot waiting for a call; waiting for news and instead getting deafening silence as I stared daggers at the phone, willing it to ring. At two o’clock a soft tug on my shirt snapped me back to reality. My brothers request for food brought my attention to my own rumbling stomach so I pulled out a box of mac and cheese, numbly turning on the stove and wondering why if there is a god, he would let this happen.


My dad’s ladder broke.

He fell 25 feet and landed on concrete.

What kind of god would let that happen?


When I awoke later to a car door shutting and scampered to the window, I pretended not to be disappointed when it was my aunt’s face I saw and not my mom’s.


Once inside, my aunt set about making dinner as she tried to fill the darkened, silent room with mindless chatter. It didn’t make me feel better.


Everyone was silent at dinner simply picking at the food on their plates and flinching at the occasional clink of a fork on a plate or a glass placed on the table.


It suddenly became too much for me so I shoved myself away from the table with a piercing screech and bolted for the door.


“Sophia!” My aunt called for me but I couldn’t be bothered to look back.


I ran and ran into the rapidly falling darkness barely hearing my aunts voice getting fainter as I got farther away. When my feet finally froze, I collapsed into the plush green grass below me and rolled onto my back looking up to the heavens and the explosion of stars in the clouded sky above me. I knew I should cry or be angry or feel something but I was much too empty inside so instead I listened to the soothing orchestra of crickets surrounding me and tried to numb my aching mind.


Sometime later when I felt a pair of arms wrap around me and my aunt pulled me up, I sunk into her warm embrace as a tear rolled down my cheek and she pulled me onto the porch sitting me down next to her, my limbs tangled with hers and leaning on her for strength.  


“I know. I know,” her voice breaking as she hushed me.


It was then that it began to pour and with heavy hearts and eyes to match we listened to the rain dancing on the roof and fell asleep praying that the water would wash away the pain.


I awoke a while later when my mom threw down her bag and slumped down in the chair next to me. There were dark shadows staining her face and the ghost of tears streaking her cheeks. With tired eyes and messy hair we all stared at the broken figure next to me. No one said a thing.


It was then that my brother disappeared from the room and returned with the acoustic guitar.


As his calloused hands plucked gently at the strings and his hushed voice filled the room, I let out a choked sob and began to sing with him.


By the third song, we were all singing, the rain our only audience. With hoarse voices and tearful eyes we sang letting the music be the balm that soothed our souls and in that moment, even with tears in my eyes and sleep on my tongue and cracks in my heart, there wasn’t a place in the world I’d rather be.

Things don’t always turn out the way you plan them to but no amount of lists and journals filled with “I’m gonnas” could help you plan the smallest yet biggest moments of your life. Because it’s the moments where your brothers broken voice and the old acoustic guitar heal your shattered heart that you’ll want to remember.

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7 thoughts on “How to Heal Heartbreak

  1. Sophia-
    The beginning of your piece really got the reader to question what your story was going to be about. It got me hooked. I really liked your technique of paragraphing. It helped with the flow of the story. Great Job!

  2. Dear Sophia,
    I really liked your memoir a lot and I thought how you made a lot of paragraph added a lot of effect to the writing.
    -Michael Cruz

  3. Sophia,
    Your piece was absolutely amazing! By the first sentence I was hooked on. You did such a great job with description and the internal and external story. You had the reader thinking and predicting. I really enjoyed reading it!
    -Alex Harris

  4. I’m glad that your dad is okay. And I love-love-loved your piece! The description throughout it was amazing. The way you described the stars and July, soooo good! You had a really strong hook and a really captivating title.
    Tabitha Aime

  5. Sophia,
    I LOVED your piece, the hook was probably one of the best I’ve read ever. I love all of the emotion you put into the piece, it was captivating. Your descriptions are insanely amazing, I think my favorite is by far the “explosion of stars”. Every word is so carefully selected, and its overall a beautiful piece.


  6. Sophia,
    I think your memoir is amazing! You did a great job with really describing everything and there was so much authors craft and suspense. I was really pulled in. I especially loved your lead and all of the thought you put into this memoir. I really enjoyed reading it!

  7. I loved your story Sophia! I loved the suspense, description, and all the emotion you put into your piece. I hung to every word and couldn’t stop reading. As someone who heard about the story as it was happening, it was so emotional to hear what was going on inside your head and how you felt.


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