Broken or Not?

11 Jan 2009

Can you have your heart broken on something that never was? Rain wondered idly as she stepped out of her cold office building and into the hot Makati noon. She made a face at the heat and fished for her sunglasses in her purse, which she put back again when she remembered that she’ll be passing through an underpass anyway. She quickly fell in the same steps as the other employees walking towards the underpass, on the way to eat lunch. Her walk was brisk and purposeful, eyes straight ahead, not looking at any other people heading for the opposite direction.

Rain emerged at the other side of the street and entered the building right outside the underpass. She headed up to the fourth floor food court, still following people in business attires and hearing snatches of conversations here and there.

“He never replied to my text! I wonder if I said anything wrong…”

“She sure acts like she’s interested, but I’m just not sure.”

“I just want to know what he thinks about me…I mean, he did say…”

“I really think this will work out now.”

Rain finally emerged at the food court and scanned the tables for a familiar face. She saw some officemates, but she wasn’t looking for them. Finally, she spotted a small girl sitting at a corner table by the window, flipping through a magazine, some sandwiches and drinks in front of her.

“Hey Kate,” Rain greeted when she got to the table. Kate looked up and her face broke into a grin.

“Hi Rain,” Kate said, rising from her seat to give Rain a kiss on the cheek. Rain sat across her, and tucked her purse securely between her feet.

“Thanks for having lunch with me today,” Rain said gratefully. “I was getting tired of the office crowd.”

Kate smiled. “Of course. I’m glad to be here. So what’s eating you? Tell me while we eat.” She closed the magazine she was reading and pushed one of the sandwiches to Rain.

Rain accepted the food and then made the Sign of the Cross, which Kate followed. She prayed silently in her head and closed the prayer with another Sign of the Cross, and then the two of them started digging in their food.

“So? What’s up?” Kate asked again.

Rain put down her sandwich after taking a bite. She finished chewing first before sighing. “Actually, I don’t really know. I just felt suffocated at work today.”

“Uh-huh,” Kate nodded, and motioned for Rain to go on. Rain smiled at how much her friend knows her; she knew well enough that Rain tends to stall a lot before mentioning what really bothers her. In fact, her friends often tease her as the “okay girl”, as in the one who always says that she’s okay even if she’s not. They often have to ask her twice before she actually tells what she feels.

“Everyone just seems to want my attention, and I can’t give everyone that,” Rain continued, frustration evident in her tone. “I feel like I’m being pulled in a dozen different directions.”

“Hm,” Kate said thoughtfully. “How’s your project going on? The one with…what’s her name? Camille?”

“Camilla,” Rain said dully. “It’s going fine.” She shrugged and poked at her sandwich, avoiding Kate’s probing eyes.

“Fine…how fine?”

“Great. Camilla’s a great worker,” Rain said, forcing a smile. “And she’s very, very nice too.”

Kate nodded slowly, taking a sip of her drink before asking the next question. “And how is Mark?” she finally asked.

Rain felt her hands grow cold at the mention of her guy best friend’s name. She hated how she gets this kinds of reaction at any thought or mention of Mark. Mark is her best friend. Mark is also working on the project that she and Camilla are working on, and at first she was thrilled to have Mark on board with their project. However, things turned differently when she learned that Mark was courting Camilla.

It shouldn’t matter to her, really. Mark is just a friend. Yes, she used to like him, and Kate knew that, but that was still way back in college. She’s just friends with him now. And him courting Camilla shouldn’t bug her, but for some reason it does.

“Mark’s okay,” Rain said, shrugging again. She rubbed her hands together in an attempt to warm them. Kate watched her with a critical eye.

“You’re reacting,” her friend said. “Your hands are cold, I can sense it. Come on, spit it out.”

Rain sighed. “It’s just…I’ve been thinking,” she leaned forward, laying her hands on the table. “Can you have a broken heart even if you were never in a relationship?”

Kate raised an eyebrow. “I’m not sure I get you.”

“I mean, you know how people equate broken hearts to people who just got out of a relationship? Can you get your heart broken if you were never in a relationship with the person?” Rain asked.

“You mean…unrequited love?” Kate clarified. She took a thoughtful bite of her sandwich.

Rain bobbed her head. “Yeah, kind of like that.” She remembered the food in front of her and reached for it. Her hunger was gone, but she knew she’d need something in her stomach if she were to survive the afternoon.

“I guess?” Kate answered after swallowing. “I’m no expert, as you know. But…I guess you can have a broken heart even if it’s unrequited love. Heck, I think you’re more entitled to one.”

“But it’s not the same as the one when you get out of a relationship, right?” Rain wanted to know. “I mean, I see people who are crushed after a relationship ends, and I just feel like I don’t have the right to say that my heart has been broken over anything when I’ve never really been there in the first place.”

Kate fell silent, chewing thoughtfully. Rain put her sandwich down and looked out the window, watching the people walking down the street. She was used to this crowd, this place. She liked the fast paced life, the corporate feel. She had made a life in this place, completely separate from what she had back in college, just as she liked it. And then Mark joins her life here and makes a life of his own, seemingly without her. It doesn’t seem fair.

Rain wondered briefly where Mark could be then. He was just there at the office earlier before she left, picking up Camilla for a lunch date. She had left a bit late so she wouldn’t catch the two of them at the elevator or at the lobby. It’s not because she’s jealous…she just doesn’t want to see them.

“This is about Mark, isn’t it Rain?” Kate asked softly.

The groan escaped from Rain’s throat before she could stop it. “I honestly don’t know, Kate. I honestly don’t know.” She buried her face into her hands.

“Well…I think everyone’s entitled to a broken heart,” Kate said. “Regardless of the situation. Be it a real relationship or something that you hoped for but did not happen.” She reached across the table and patted Rain’s arm.

“It’s okay if you hurt about Mark and Camilla,” Kate added gently. “You did like him before, and he is your best friend, and it’s just normal for you to feel this way with him having another girl.”

Rain looked up at Kate and managed a weak smile. “Especially if you don’t like the girl, huh?”


“Even if she was really, really nice and there’s nothing not to like about her.”

“Especially that,” Kate said, relieved that Rain was starting to sound like herself again. “Come on, Rain, cheer up.”

Rain sighed for the third time that lunch. “It’s just too weird. You know. And Mark keeps on telling me everything that’s been happening. I mean, yeah, I’m his best friend, but I’m not his diary.”

Kate laughed. “Guys can really be so insensitive.”

“Exactly,” Rain nodded vigorously. “But of course, I must be the best friend. I have to listen. I can’t not listen. I can’t just shut him out.”

“You mean you won’t,” Kate pointed out. Rain opened her mouth in protest, but Kate held up a hand. “Don’t you deny it. I’m not saying you’re in love with Mark; not anymore, anyway. You just can’t help but be a friend.”

“I’d do the same for any of you.”

“We know you would,” Kate said. “Sometimes, I think for guys, especially for guys that you like or used to like, you have to draw a line.”

Rain took another bite of her sandwich and chewed on it as she absorbed Kate’s words. She was right. Mark was making his own life, and she’s making her own. They just happened to cross at this point. She has to start loving herself first before she can love other people in a platonic way, right?

Before she could say anything, Rain felt her phone vibrate in her bag. She reached for her purse and pulled out her phone. There was a message. She could feel Kate watch her as she read it. It contained only three words, but Rain took a long time reading it, wishing it wasn’t what she thought it was but knowing that it is what she thinks. Her hands grew cold once again and she felt a small queer ache in the middle of her chest.

“What is it?” Kate finally asked.

“Camilla said yes,” Rain said blankly. She looked at Kate as she felt the ache grow inside of her. “Camilla said yes to Mark. They’re together.”

“Oh dear,” Kate reached for Rain’s hand and held it tightly. It felt warm to Rain’s icy cold hand.

As she stared at the message on her phone, Rain wondered once again if people in her situation were entitled to a broken heart…because right then and there, in the middle of the noisy food court, her heart feels pretty much broken.

[1668 words]

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