The Pitch-Black Room
Heartbreak is a pitch-black room.
At first, you’re disoriented. Confused. How did the familiar world become replaced by this sarcophagus of grief?
There are no windows. No doors. Only darkness.
And you’re all alone. You can hear life as usual just outside your walls, but you are separated from the activity.
The air feels funny. It’s too dense, making every breath a struggle. It presses down on you as you try to move. It feels as though it’s squeezing your very life away.
And yet somehow, your lungs keep following orders. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
In that pitch-black room, there is no day or night.
No hot or cold.
No anything, really.
You scream, both in an attempt to release your pain and in an attempt to feel it. The sound echoes off the walls, filling the void until the vibrations cease.
You find that you’re going through the motions. More an act of habit than an act of living.
You dutifully lay down in the bed only to realize later that you’ve been staring at the ceiling for hours, sleep remaining elusive.
You prepare a meal only to sit down and realize that you’re not hungry.
You drink. Not because you’re thirsty, but because some primal part of brain tells you that you must.
You despise the room, with its absence of light and its reverberations of pain. But you also begin to grow comfortable with the room. You know its every corner. And you become accustomed to its confines. It’s life distilled into its most bitter essence. Terrible, but familiar. You begin to forget that there is anything other than this pitch-black room.
The first glimpse of light catches you off-guard. It feels good and wrong all at once. It’s welcome, yet it doesn’t belong. You even feel guilty for smiling at the glow. As though you’re somehow betraying the solemness that the room demands.
You decide to investigate further, drawn to the possibility that there is more than darkness. But as you approach, the light flickers out.
Over the next days…weeks…months… who knows? time has no meaning here…the light reappears of its own volition. Sometimes it fades as soon as it appears. And sometimes the light remains for some time.
You become hopeful. And then defeated, mad at yourself for letting optimism in. After all, this is now your room.
But still the light persists, growing just a little brighter every day.
Until one day, you are able to see the room more clearly. There’s a window after all. And you can see outside. You want to be outside. You desperately search for a way out. But find nothing.
Pacing in frustration, you begin to tell yourself that you’re stuck. That this darkness is all that you’ll know. You repeat it so much that it becomes gospel. So much so that you’re unable to accept the appearance of door in the once-smooth wall.
And then once you see it, you find that you’re both excited about a way out and frightened about the possibility of escape. Because what if you take that step out only to have your heart broken again?
You finally summon your courage, take that tentative step. Your first ventures out are short. You return to the room when you remember your sadness and often, you find your way back there through no reason at all.
The visits slowly become less frequent. Their duration shortens. You find yourself becoming more a part of the outside world and less a resident of the room.
The room is always there. Its walls are solid, bricks of heartache mortared with tears. You know that you can stop by and visit. And sometimes you seem to find yourself there when the calendar reaches certain days or a memory is triggered.
But you also know that you can step out of the room again. And you can close the door behind you.
The pitch-black room holds the memories, and it no longer holds you.