“How broken are you?” he asked above the steaming mugs of hot chocolate and coffee sitting prettily in their red and white porcelain mugs. All around us, chirpy songs were playing to cheer up the dreary day as rain poured outside the glass doors of the café. I thought quietly about the question, the spoon going round and round in my mug gathering marshmallows in fluffy white clouds with every swirl. How does one answer that? I didn’t quite know, the normally eloquent me was at a loss for words. But then again, so many bits of me had been broken over the years. The betrayals, the losses…it was too much over time, I supposed. So many things had changed me. They had taken away my words, dried up my imagination and my bright and beautiful outlook of the world was gone, just like that. I was not the young, naïve girl I once was.
Yes, I was definitely broken. It hurt me to say so. It was as if the brokenness of me cut myself deeper as I admitted it. Even then a little worm of resentment burst its way through the walls of my scarred heart at the trap his question made for me. I eyed him over the rim of my mug as I took a sip. “Very.” I huffed out a reply as if blowing on my chocolate. His raised brows indicated he didn’t quite understand me. “Very broken.” I repeated quietly, more to myself than to him, an affirmation of a situation of being rather than an answer.
My previously calm mood evaporated. Curls of steam floated up from the surface of the mug. The music continued to play. He watched me with his dark brown eyes, questioning, seeking some other longer explanation. But I offered none. Not because I couldn’t, but because I had none to give.
I was all out of reasons, 22 and already tired of life. This jaded person I’d become, I barely recognized her. That pale complexion that faded out into nothingness the more you stared at it, ordinary, common. The personality, hammered down to fit in, fit in, fit in. and yet the feeling of never fitting in. Constantly searching and yet turning up empty handed, empty hearted. He would not understand, brought up in a world so unlike mine, so languid and perfect in comparison. Perfect. I loathed the word and yet wanted to be it. So typically human. Always wanting what was not mine.