The Poet's Guide To Hearbreak

How much can a single person alter our reality? When we lose ourselves, how do we find our way back? For brokenhearted poet Avery, these seem to be the questions that have been consuming her for the greater part of a year. From first love to first loss and all the moments in between, Avery just can't help but feel that he will remain a part of her, and that the way back just isn't as simple as one would think it may be.


3. M E T A P H O R


Now Mercator became renowned because of his namesake the Mercator Projection. It became the standard navigation tool for all the navigators and explorers attempting to breach new worlds. It is in its very essence a standard grid map, all longitude and latitude and precise direction. It was known for its simplistic way of showing true direction. You see, all the navigator had to do was draw a line between the two points he wanted to travel and he would know which direction to continually sail to reach his destination. If only it were that easy, if only he could have drawn a line between her and I in order to see where his true direction was. But then this whole map thing is a metaphor at its best, isn’t it? When I think about it we’re all made up of similes and metaphors, but sometimes we’re just one or the other. Him, he was a metaphor. I try to think of metaphors that suit him best, but he was made of the sea and the stars and the sun, and one wouldn't do him justice.

He was the rays of the sun. He was transplendent. He emanated the light you see when you are graced by God himself. His smile was enough to make you giddy. His eyes, crinkled in the corner from constant grins, brought you comfort. He gave you warmth, that constant reassurance that everything would be okay. He wanted you to know that with him he would do everything in his power to make sure you were okay.

He was the brightest star in the darkness of the night. He illuminated your path, making you believe with your entire heart you were going the right way. He made you believe in magic, in wishes coming true. Every time he shot across the sky, he had me wishing for him to stay forever more in my life.

He was a fucking sea of grief, the waves within in him a facade of laid back happiness. He had not shone his true colors, not ever. I was never able to unearth the treasures down deep in the depths of his heart. He always tried so hard to make me happy, to share with me the shimmers of the waters and the magic starlight. He wanted us to have something to claim as our own, but we never found it. There was never a map that led us in any right direction. It was because his heart was not big enough to hold within it enough love for two people. He loved her, he still does, he always will. His love for her will be unending, just as mine for him is oblivion. There is no straight line that led him to me, just one that led him away, one that pointed him home. After all, I wasn’t his true direction, she was.

Our love for those who may have loved us once, but no longer do, speaks of dead ends and silent tears. Just as I didn’t notice that his heart was someone else’s, so will no other know that remnants of him are ingrained within me. He is etched upon my skin. Every freckle, every crevice, every square inch of my body that has been touched by him screams at me relentlessly in the darkness as I lie awake. It calls for him, for his touch. Every cell in me knows that it was once in contact with him, that it needed him to continue functioning. How my body has not failed me since he left surprises me. I should have treated it better. My body is a temple, the only thing I will ever own in this world. Yet, I allowed him to touch every sacred inch. There is nothing left in which to find solace.

He told me once he had heard that after a certain amount of time, all cells regenerate.  That every single cell in our skeleton is reborn, that there will come a time that someone you had come in contact with will no longer have any trace of them within you. I pray and hope for that day incessantly. I want my body to be rid of him. I want to look at my left hand and not imagine his right intertwined within it. I want to look at my own face and not think of how he stroked it with his able hands when he wanted to calm me. I want to have myself back.

I want to be whole again.

"Why do you always sit in the front?" He asked one day, not long after the semester had begun. He had been attending class then, enough to note the quirks and routines of the small group around him. He had waited until everyone had left that day, the first day he addressed me directly.

"Bad eyesight." I gathered my books, feeling his gaze upon me. I shook it off, not wanting to acknowledge it.

"Oh, I know that feeling." He said, pulling out a worn out case from his hoodie pocket.

"Why don't you just wear them?"

"No way. Eyes are the windows to the soul, Aves. What would you make of someone if you couldn't see their eyes?"

"You're so cheesy, god. And my name is Avery, not 'Aves' or whatever it is you call me." I said, getting up from my seat ready to leave.

"I like ‘Aves’. Giving someone a nickname is just a sign of affection, no harm no foul."

I had known this boy for about a few weeks, had worked with him in class on one thing or another. We had perhaps exchanged a few words, mostly on his part.

"You don't even know me." I murmured, walking past him and out the door.

I heard his sneakers against the floor as he attempted to catch up with me, "Then why don't we get to know each other?"

I sighed, "Did you want something from me? Is that it? I have nothing to offer."

"I doubt that."

I turned to look at him then, his smile wide and his hair in his face. His right shoulder went up, as if he were shrugging off the blank stare I gave him, "Do you live on campus?"

"Yeah, past the quad, the new complex."

"Sweet." He nodded.

"Well, I'm going to go, I have to finish writing these notes."

"You do that, Aves. It was nice talking to you."

You remember it in pieces, in fractured and uneven pieces. There are meaningless conversations that will play on a loop within your mind.  Words he said, the way his lips formed every syllable, every little thing your heart yearns for. It's cruel the mind betrays the heart in that way. You can be okay for days, for hours, for minutes, and suddenly something triggers it. You're engulfed with the fragmented pieces of him that won't cease haunting you.

Your mind becomes a maze with no way out. There is no way to forget him. He is in every cell in your body. And when you hear your name being called out, you can't help but wince because it's not his voice. His voice was like a siren call. Perhaps there is no true direction because of these temptations, these small bumps in the road that lead us astray. I want to believe so badly that he was just a siren, that he had just made me miscalculate my landing, but he was so much more than that.

"And so we meet again."

That voice, that fucking voice. His voice is a sound I hope I never forget. It held within it promises of love and things I never imagined. Even though his voice no longer calls, I don't want to erase it from my memory. If some things must remain, I want this to be one.

At that moment though, I rolled my eyes seeing as he walked quicker to catch up. The ground was frozen, the buildings covered in snow. There was little traction beneath our feet, and the chill of the air caused goosebumps upon my skin.


I stopped, knowing he would fall if he tried running after me.


He smiled as he saw me, his hat far too big, covering his ears and half his forehead. His cheeks were red, and the blonde hair that played around his face was far too long now. It almost didn't allow him to see.

"Hey, how have you been?"

I shrugged, "Alright. And yourself? I haven't seen you in lecture lately."

He had by the middle of the semester, ceased going to class altogether. I had found it strange then, that I noted his absence. Not that I had longed for him then, but it was in the back of my mind. I had known he wasn't there, and it had bothered me. That should have been my first sign.

"Yeah, it is way too cold. I don't fare well with below zero."

"What, are you new to this?"

"I'm from the sunshine state, Aves. Not the fucking tundra." He shivered, too cold in his too thin jacket. He looked at me up and down, not sure what to make of the mass of goose down and faux fur. "That's a great look on you though, quite endearing."

I blushed, thankful that the cold had already nipped my too white cheeks into an unforgiving shade of red, "Well, at least it's warm. More than you could say."

He laughs, "I just can't conform to this change. It's too big for me."

"Then why did you come here?"

He looked away, "Change of pace."

"You sure you weren't running away from something?" I added a chuckle, I wasn't a giggler then.

He flinched before laughing, "No. Sometimes you just need a new perspective on life." He paused, a light fog coming towards me as he breathed out, "Are you free right now?"

Now this, this was the question that would change everything.

"Oh, yeah...I guess."

You ponder how a simple yes or no question change your life, and I now always seem to wonder what would have happened if I had said no. Would he have gotten me to say yes at a later date? Would all of this had happened? Would he still be the sea, the sun, and the stars?

"Great. Do you want to go get some coffee or something?"

"Um...yeah. I guess so." I wasn't sure why I had said yes. He had been nothing but a nuisance to me before, and suddenly I was missing him in lecture and going to get coffee with him.

"Sweet." He smiled, looking at my hands and shaking his head. "Are you really not wearing gloves right now?"

"Says the guy who isn't even wearing a proper coat."

He grabbed my hand in his and my heart skips a beat, "How are your hands still warm?"

With a slight tremble in my voice I said, "I'm a native."

The first time  he touched me I never would have thought that every cell in my body would have to one day exile any remnants of his touch. I never would have thought he would move on from my hand, to my wrist, to the curvature of my waist, to the softest part of my heart. I never would have thought that his touch would mean anything.

He put my hand down, "Which coffee shop do you want to go to, since you're the native."

"There's great place around the corner, actually."

"Do they sell that coffee thing you always bring to class?"

"How do you even remember that?"

"I could smell it behind you, smelled amazing."

"Such a creep." I muttered, hitching up my book bag upon my shoulder and turning to walk.

He walked, making sure not to fall behind this time.



"You're a poet right?"

"I guess."

"That's pretty amazing. Not everyone could do that." And god, he turned to look at me, and smiled again, a toothy large grin.

His smile, his killer smile, forever embedded in my mind. The blanket of snow around us, the glitter of it, the blinding sparkle it gave off, the little sun that poked through the thick, cotton clouds. Nothing could have ever compared to the light he radiated. He was transplendent.

He was the sea, the sun, and the fucking stars. How could I ever forget him?


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