I cried for three days and stayed in bed for a week. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat.

My broken heart didn’t feel metaphorical – I had an actual ache in the middle of my torso, perhaps not precisely where my heart is, but close enough to imagine that some tender organ inside me, one that kept me alive and functioning, was badly damaged.

When I did finally go out into the world again, Ilooked at other people going about their business as usual, laughing and chatting, carefree and content, and wondered how they could simply continue with their lives while mine had fractured. It was unthinkable to me that they couldn’t sense my pain, that it wasn’t radiating out of me like an oil spill, tainting all it touched.

This wasn’t the astonishing agony of a shattered first love. I’d been through that and come out the other side, much thinner than when I’d gone in, but also having learnt that having your heart broken doesn’t actually kill you, even if it feels for a while like it

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