Nothing had ever hurt so much in her life.
She hadn’t faced pain that bad, not when she had a toothache that rendered her immobile for a week, not when she broke her leg and not when she used to suffer from excruciating cramps and headaches before she went on the pill.
When she was younger, she had faced pain, and heartache. An ache was different though, an ache or a cut or a bruise could heal fast, could be plastered over or kissed better. This wasn’t the same. Her chest felt like it was going to cave in, and the sting in her eyes just wouldn’t stop.
She wanted to be alone, but alone the tears wouldn’t stop flowing.
Part of her wanted to wallow in her own self misery, to put on Dusty Springfield and Dionne Warwick, two women she always thought understood her but, until then, she had never understood herself. She knew, however, that doing that had the potential to just make things worse, to keep her thinking about it and keep her going over it in her head again and again and again.
She reached over to the glove compartment, snapping it open and grabbing the packet of cigarettes inside. Her hand was shaking, trembling, and she struggled to make the flame lick the end, struggled to get even that small, simple pleasure.
Finally it lit and she sank down in the chair, closing her eyes as the tears continued to fall. It was hard. Too hard. And she didn’t know when it would end, when it would feel better. She wondered why it had been so easy to hate the others, to hate the brief flings who hurt her just a little, when she knew she couldn’t hate him. Not even a little bit, despite the fact that he had hurt her the most.
Broken up. Dumped. Ended. There was no nice word for it. There was no polite way of saying it. Even death had sweet euphemisms, but for a break up there was none.
She couldn’t even be bothered to turn the radio on.
How had it happened?
How had it come to this?
How did two people so in love just end up so hurt, so lost, so confused?
And they had been in love. She still was. She thought it a shame that emotions didn’t have a switch, that they couldn’t just be turned on and off.
Everyone else would tell her to channel it, to turn her pain into something productive. To put pain to paper and pour her feelings out that way, to play around with the words and create a song that would, undoubtedly, make others feel that it was written for them, that she really understood what she was going through.
But as far as she was concerned, they didn’t.
They didn’t know because when it happened to her friends, to her family, she didn’t know. Everyone was different. Everyone coped different and although songs about it were some of the best, no one would be able to know completely how she felt or what she was going through.
She had tried so hard not to cry in front of him, to not just break down there and then. As soon as his door had closed behind her, she had taken deep breaths, trying to control herself. The tears had come too quickly, rolling down her face as she reached into her bag for her car keys.
The street had been quiet, and she had driven around the corner, parked, and let it all out.
Now, she started the engine, flicked the cigarette end out of the window and drove off.
Tears still blurred her vision but her breathing was coming under control. The sick, horrible feeling in her stomach persisted, the pain in her chest didn’t fade, but she was determined to get home, to crawl into bed and stick on some cheesy, awful chick flick.
Love was meant to be rainbows and bunnies and sunshine. At least, that was how she had been brought up to understand it. Films and cartoons and books and the TV told her so. Only songs dared enter the territory of no, not everything is all right with this concept. Songs spoke of the darker side, of how love could burn and destroy, how love could twist everything and turn it upside down and how it had that side, how it wasn’t just boy meets girl and they live happily ever after.
I thought I loved you. I don’t think I do. Not…not now, anyway. I’m sorry…
The words hit her again, hard, and the tears refused to stop, covering her eyes.
She didn’t see the car heading her way, not until it tried to swerve to avoid her. Before she could do anything to change course, she found herself ploughing into the side of the red mini.