I slowly sit up, the sunlight fighting a war against my mind. For some reason my eyelids seem ineffective against its vicious invasion. With the morning’s bitter attack of sobriety comes the realisation that the pain that is usually so effectively masked by vodka is now being fully felt. I reach for the bottle on the windowsill, knocking over one of the little Russian dolls as I do so. I wonder, for a moment, if there’s someone inside of me…and then I remember. My stomach convulses and my mouth is full of vomit, which I quickly swallow. I follow it with a mouth full of clear, hot liquid from the bottle, hoping that as it slides down my throat it will take the pain with it.
I lost something, years ago, I don’t remember what it was now. I just know I’ve been looking for it. It feels like forever.
I drag myself out of bed, bottle in my hand, and make my way downstairs. I sit, slumped in my worn, old arm chair, the sun cruelly striking me through the window. I take another hit of vodka, and another, but the pain’s still there, damn it. This worked yesterday, and the day before that, and…I can’t remember how many days it’s been now. Is it weeks? Months? Years? I look at the bottle and wonder how much of my life it’s taken.
I remember now, that thing I lost, it was the other half of my heart. Strange thing is, I don’t seem to remember ever having it. I thought I’d found it a few times, but I was wrong. So very wrong.
The clear liquid in the bottle runs dry as I pour the last drops into my mouth. I shake the bottle, hoping that those last few precious drips will be the ones to take the pain away. I am wrong, they do no such thing. The tears begin then, slowly at first, a small river of hurt down my face. They’re followed by sobs as I drop to my knees. In the distance, far away, I hear someone screaming, it’s several minutes before I realise it’s me. The pain turns to rage, the bottle flies from my hand and shatters into a million pieces against the wall.
I’m on my knees. The storm inside has passed and all I’m left with is silence. Inside I feel numb, empty. I’d covered the pain for so long, and now, having let myself feel it, was it gone? No…it was still there, but its grip on me had loosened.
I’m staring at the floor, I don’t know how long for, when I see it. A small piece of my heart, just sitting there. A tiny shard of heart on the floor. It looks so small and fragile, I wonder where the rest is, and for a moment despair of ever being able to put it back together. Then I see another, and another, a trail leading towards the front door. I follow them and they lead me outside onto the road. The road looks different today. Today the road is paved with broken dreams and shattered illusions, and the shards of my broken heart lead me along it.
At the end of the road, far in the distance, I see a girl. She is radiant, like the sun, but her light doesn’t wound me. It’s warm, and comforting, and it draws me closer to her. Her beauty blinds me to it at first, but then I see that stretched behind her is a trail of broken pieces of heart, just like mine. In her hands she holds a box, and she offers it to me. I take it, almost afraid to look inside, afraid of what I might find. I needn’t have been afraid, for finally I’ve found it, the other half of my heart.
I remember something, something I’ve had for as long as I can remember. I’ve carried it with me wherever I go. Through the good times and the bad times it’s always been there, but until now I never knew what it was. I reach into my pocket and pull out a small package. Wrapped in velvet to keep it safe, the most precious thing to me, it’s the other half of her heart.