What becomes of the broken-hearted

Monday 26th March

This was another of those great Tamla-Motown songs of the mid-sixties, this one by Jimmy Ruffin.  It has been covered many times by many artists, one of my favourites being by Colin Blunstone in the early eighties.  But I don’t want to write about the song but about the phrase, the emotion, the shared experience; that awful desolation when you realise that the one you have loved doesn’t love you any more, or has let you down, or more likely, gone off with someone else.  The utter despair when you can hardly face getting up and going to work, maybe because you will have to explain why you are no longer together, or just try to fill your day with something, anything to stop you thinking about them and digging deeper into the roove of your misery until the blood runs free.  There you go, pick-pick-picking at the scab, and just as your mother (or in my case Grandma) told you to leave it alone to heal on its own; you just can’t stop yourself from tormenting the wound over and over and wallowing in the mud-bath of your own despond. That moment seems to want to last forever, as if letting go of the pain means you are letting go of the once-loved one; that you are somehow betraying your desperate and hopeless love by laughing or having a good time once more.  And so for days and days and sometimes weeks you do penance for the sin, the capital crime of letting them slip through your fingers, as if you cannot quite forgive yourself for losing them, when in most cases you are completely the innocent one.  Ah, but apportioning blame helps little, it matters not whose fault it was, the heart is broken and will not mend, and actually you don’t ever want it to mend, as then the memory of your perfect love will be be-smirched.  And so you mooch around and make those around you miserable too, until one day you wake up and realise that the sun is shining, you are mildly happy, and you haven’t thought of the wretch all day.  Instantly you feel better, straight away the heart lifts, and you can hardly believe what you saw in them anyway, and you make a solemn promise never to let anyone ever treat you like that again.

That’s what becomes of the broken hearted.