My Heart Hurts

By , West Dundee, IL
“What’s wrong?”
The words break me from my spell—if only for a moment.


It was that look. That look had cast that evil spell, and now I had to feel it leeching me of the world’s glee.

I loved him—I always knew it, and now he did, too. So why did he glare at me with eyes so fierce they drove a wedge into my fragile heart? His eyes said it all. What he thought about my confession, what he thought about me. I am nothing more than another friend turned useless lovesick puppy, and it hurts me.

My stomach hurts. But not like when we were taken by laughter, sporting tucked-in shirts with our waistbands high.

My throat hurts. But not like when we were singing ‘Teenage Wasteland’ over and over again on a cold Saturday afternoon in the park.

My lung hurts. But not like when we ran from the cops after egging that jacka** I used to date’s house.

My heart hurts. That was different. I had never loved so much and then have it all taken away. And by a glare nonetheless. But that glare was the destruction of me, did he know that? He never had to open his mouth nor clench his fist to bruise me so.

I remember that day by the lake. It was so hot and the water was so cool—I could feel it when I skimmed my toes across the sparkling top. I don’t do well with swimming, I told him as he called for me. He was treading water only a short distance away in the green, murky water. I told him I was afraid of drowning. He swam over and reached for my hand to pull me in the water. He told me he’d never let me drown. So I took a deep breath, squeezed his hand, and gave in to the refreshing waves that served as protective bubble from the blazing heat. And it was the best day of my life.

He told me he’d never let me drown, and here I was, gasping for air, reaching for a hand that wasn’t really there.


I return my focus to the question that broke such a deeply embedded spell. A part of me is annoyed anyone would dare break my spell—my misery—and why? So they could pretend to know how I feel? How could they possibly know what he and I had? What I thought he and I had.

But the truth is my heart hurts—there’s a wedge between it—and to have somebody care—if only for a moment—is almost enough to repair what he never said. Almost.

“Nothing.”





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