In the country of the ochre afternoon
it is always still and hot, the dry leaves stirring
infrequently sometimes with the rattling pods
of what they call “women’s tongues,” in
the afternoon country the far hills are very quiet
and heat-hazed, but mostly in the middle
of the country of the afternoon I see the brown heat
of the skin of my first love, so still, so perfect,
so unaltered, and I see how she walked
with her sunburnt hands against the still sea almonds,
to a remembered cove, where she stood n a small dock–
that was when I thought we were immortal
and that love would be folded doves and folded ores
and water lapping against eroded stone
in the ochre country of the afternoon.
– Derek Walcott
It was friday night, and my officemates and I were sitting around a table in the McDonald’s on Paseo. We’re all dead tired, yet Jerry from C/S decides it’s a good time to talk about love like we’re on some inane late night radio show.
He asks our audio tech how he got past it. To which the tech replies, you just do. You find someone else, you forget, and voila, you heal. The whole idea of moving on is built around the notion that there is an actual cure for heartbreak, and that this cure occurs in the wake of forgetting. As if memory were an objective repository for misery (as well as other things of course).
Being the only girl at the table then, I had to answer the question as well: “What did I do to get past that last relationship that ended in heartbreak?”
I didn’t. That was my answer and that still is. Whatever pretenses I put on that I’m past anyone who broke my heart in the past, I’m not, and I don’t think I ever will be. It sounds pretty lame, but something chips away from inside you the minute you latch on to someone else. No matter how petty it was, with every part of you that is discovered in the context of a relationship, a part of you is taken away in its absence. In its place is a wound that is as much a part of your self as a mole on your chin or your lack of a vocabulary to describe the gravity of that kind of disappointment.