Unbreak My Heart

It was the wee hours of the morning. The Librarian and I strolled through a snowy Riverdale street after a party. We’d goaded each other on (I’ll. Go. If. You. Go.). We both had winter cabin fever (We’ll. Just. Go. For. An. Hour). We each needed to put on some nice clothes, and feel the flickering warmth of people coming together on a freezing cold night.

The party had been sweet, welcoming, even intimate. Another woman, I’ll call her Gerda, was walking with us. We were on the way to the streetcar stop, making smalltalk, companionably, sleepily, in the temporary solidarity of those who have seen a party through to its end. The weather had warmed up, subtly, and for once the wintry air felt refreshing.

Gerda was telling us that she’d moved here from Berlin, for a relationship. It had just ended, a month after she’d arrived. It’s. Been. Hard. she said, with a small, tender break in her voice. And then, more forcefully. But. I. Want. To. Stay. Here. It. Feels. Right.

You have a lot of friends here said The Librarian with her particular mix of innocence and insight. You’ll. Be. OK.

Here. said Gerda suddenly. Have some cunt chocolate. She pulled two small German chocolate bars out of her pocket. Moser, she said, with quiet amusement. It actually means cunt.

I ate the smooth, silky milk chocolate as my streetcar chugged across the dingier parts of Gerrard Street and a light snow began to fall. I was moved by this stranger’s small, generous, sexy gesture. (Gerda and The Librarian hopped a cab in another direction. The Librarian told me Gerda cried all the way home).

Cathexis, decathexis.

Attaching and then detaching. Reaching out when you want to pull in. Tasting the sweetness of life, after a bitter experience. Connecting. It’s not an easy thing to do.

How do you heal a broken heart? With loving gestures? A ritual? The slow passage of time? And what if all the things that pleasured you – trips to the indoor farmer’s market, cooking together or for each other, the Saturday paper, gin & tonics, walks in a park – are dry, shrunken, bleached of colour, because you found out they were even lovelier when you did them with her?

A few days later, the librarian taught me a new word. Methexis. Perhaps it is a place between cathexis (attachment to a single object of desire) and its opposite, decathexis.

Methexis. I have found various definitions. Group sharing. The opportunity to participate. Refracting the past. Its opposite is chorismos, or separation. Methexis can be achieved through artistic creation, or through performance. Something that is shared with others; a working through, with witnesses.

Another story. The Pastry Chef has been making Valentines cookies, thousands of them, with tiny sentences in pink icing. She put out a call for more pithy phrases on her blog, and several people wrote in. One of them offered the following words:

Unbreak my heart

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