A broken Heart was being worked on by a doctor, one Mr. Brain. This patient-doctor relationship dates back to several millennia, with the Heart occasionally turning in with broken ribs and teeth more often than Dr. Brain could actually handle. But he was a very gentle, sensible and smart doctor. He rarely showed any indifference to the only patient to his office, the broken heart.
So, the conversation runs like this.
Heart (its face the very picture of resignation): How long to heal, doc?
Brain (finishes a suture, cuts off the remnant and says encouragingly): Should be short. You’ll be fine, don’t worry. Don’t over-think the healing process. You’ll be fine.
There’s a moment of pause, of silent contemplation while the brain tries to remove some of the shards off the tissue. Some of these are going to leave permanent scars on the heart but he doesn’t want the heart to know about them. Not now.
Heart: Why is it always like this, doc?
For a brief moment, the brain oscillates between answering the rhetoric or choosing to ignore it respectfully. He decides on doing the former. The conversation has to keep going if he has to work on the other deep bruise.
Brain: Hm.. it’s always like this, yes… I think that’s the way our world works. Love and hurt go hand-in-hand.
Heart: Don’t give me philosophical bullshit, doc. You are the science guy. Tell me an answer that heals me.
Brain: Answers don’t heal you, my friend. Answers are not cathartic. Time will heal. Now, don’t fret about it, I’ve told you so many times before… the best thing is to forget it, at least temporarily.
Heart: How can I? I don’t have a brain that I can switch off. I am constantly ON. I have to be running if I have to keep alive.
One more pause. You’d expect this pause to be somewhat discomforting to the doctor, but he’s gotten used to it now. The heart goes on.
Heart: Why is it that people only break me? Why not you?
The brain stops his work on the bruise he is trying to fix. He has stopped the bleeding so he has this moment to pause, to ponder deeply on heart’s complaint. Why, really, is it always the heart that’s broken? Why not the brain? “Why not you?”
The brain lets out a long, pronounced sigh. There’s a smile on his face; not the one that emerges when you’ve figured out a thing. The one that emerges when you realize the futility of your solitary existence and the inability to communicate it to anyone at all. The one that emerges when you realize how, for everyone else, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and for yourself, there’s no grass on your side. “Why not you, doc? Why don’t they break you?”
Brain: You know some guy said that if you want to understand something, to understand how it works and what it is, you have to break it. That’s why our man, as a kid, broke the coffee-maker. Then the computer his dad bought for him. Then the watch he got as a gift from someone. Then the car’s engine he bought with his own money. Then –
Heart: The point, doc?
Brain: She wanted to understand you. She wanted to know you. May be that’s why she broke you. May be that’s why, in love, hearts are always broken. People want to understand the love. And love comes from the heart.
Heart: I’d still prefer that they broke you, once in a while, and spared me the visit. And the exorbitant fees you charge me.
And so saying, the heart left the hospital.
Long after the heart was gone, the Brain sat at the window, sipping his coffee and letting the warm draft of air blow in from the yard. He took stock of the desolate place he was in. The echoes of “Why not you?” were still audible.
From under the desk, he picked the journal and opened it. Scribbled on the first page were the lines he had almost said, lines he had adopted from some other guy’s utterances.
“Better to have been loved and hurt than to not have been loved at all.”
Someday, the unloved, unbroken brain hoped, the heart would understand it.