Valentine season is also the season for broken hearts. After all, does one ever fall in love without having one’s heart broken? As our National Hero Jose Rizal put it, “He who would love much has also much to suffer.”
No wonder, falling in love is an event likened to a drop from a certain height, from some safety. A plunge, if it’s a marriage. When you fall, you go head over heels, end over end, headlong into a bottomless abyss or in a heap on the floor, where more things other than your heart is likely to be broken.
In those times our hearts are in pieces, we resolve never to fall again, but love, as National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose describes it, is a natural compulsion. In his 2007 novel Vibora, meaning “viper,” he wrote, “When you love someone, that love has no limit, no measure, because you know in your deepest being that when that love demands sacrifice, you will give it without question.”
The heart broken is not only the heart abandoned or left alone. Also broken is the heart that has given in to love’s caprices, giving up its independence, relinquishing its privacy, surrendering its freedom, doing away with the luxury of solitude and silences without someone constantly asking, “What’s wrong?” A broken heart is also the heart that longs to give what cannot be given, an eternal promise, a life without sorrow, a joy that doesn’t end. A broken heart is one that, downplaying its own needs and wants, bleeds for the misery and despair and the unfulfilled desires of the other person.
Falling in love opens you up to pain. There is no getting away from it, just as a rose without its thorns is a rose that isn’t as real anymore, like a manicured forest, like a filtered photograph whose undesirable elements have been cropped out, like a made-up life, a lie. Pain comes with love. It lurks everywhere, waiting to pounce, always pouncing, dragging you to its lair before and after the highs of romance when you say, “This is it, this is love, I’ve found love where I didn’t think it was possible,” only to find yourself in the middle of a stupid fight the very next moment.
“Kakabog ang dibdib mo, kikilig ang kalamnan mo, at kikirot ang puso mo. Kabog, kilig, kirot. Kapag naramdaman mo ang tatlong K, … umiibig ka!” wrote the playwright Ricky Lee in Para Kay B. Translation won’t do it justice, but roughly it means that love comes with a loud thump on your chest, a shivering in the flesh, an ache in the heart.
Oh but love is love is love. It’s a bloody affair, but you cannot help it. You fall for someone better than you. You fall for someone worse than you. You fall for someone you don’t deserve. You fall for someone who doesn’t deserve you. You fall. As National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin said, “‘I love’ is a door girls slam in their fathers’ faces.”
Or you fall for The One.
Even then, you can’t count yourself lucky. You still fall. You still hurt. There will be moments the love is never enough.
If you must fall, brace yourself. Your heart will be broken. Your heart is probably broken now, even as you consider yourself blessed for being with someone that, deep in your heart, could be someone else, not necessarily some other person, but warmer, kinder, smarter, richer, more affectionate, more open, more present, more yielding, the stuff of your dreams.
But as Joaquin pointed out in his Reportage on Love, “Love should have no alternatives. Love should be the sole reason for loving. Love should spring of itself.”
Kakabog ang dibdib mo, kikilig ang kalamnan mo, at kikirot ang puso mo. Kabog, kilig, kirot. Kapag naramdaman mo ang tatlong K, … umiibig ka!—Ricky Lee
Just keep breathing. Let the blood flow to and from your heart. Bob Ong, author of ABNKKBSNPLAko?!, has this advice: “Gamitin ang puso para alagaan ang taong malapit sa ‘yo. Gamitin ang utak para alagaan ang sarili mo (Use your heart to take care of someone close to you. Use your head to take care of you).”
I guess, in love, hearts are meant to be broken. The brain is powerless against the compulsions of the heart. Let it break, if that is the price of moments of great ecstasy, though they, naturally, alternate with moments of great agony.
Anyway, your heart will mend, with or without love, until it is broken again. Because even for your resolve never to love again, #walangforever, no such thing as forever.