The Heart’s Prosthesis


You were different.

I don’t know if I ever told you that, but there it is. For you, I broke every self-imposed rule I’d ever created. They say the best kind of love is the one you never see coming, the kind that sneaks up on you so slowly that by the time you feel its presence, it has already burrowed deep inside the caverns of your heart that you didn’t even know existed.

You were a surprise, a calamity that happened both slowly and all at once. You were different because you had enough flaws to create a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle in your image, and if I prodded, you would fall apart. Pieces of you would be lost, forever, under coffee tables and between sofa cushions. But I could pick out each one instinctively, as bright to me as each star we counted at night. Yet like the stars themselves, I saw in them beauty and life, and the remnants from which they were built a thousand lifetimes ago. They were scars of your internal universe, expanding and contracting, and I could trace each one softly, so as not to cause you pain.

You made me a better observer of the mundane. While I loved you, my senses were heightened, the loveliness of small things magnified. Everyday, I saw things that reminded me of you, things that would make you smile, make you think, make you purse your lips in thought that way that you do. You made my words sharp and my thoughts clear. You made everything overly bright, made me believe I was some magical, mythical genius. You tethered me to the here and now while I built hot air balloons out of my imagination. Sometimes, I even let you come with me on those fantastical flights of fancy.

Now you’re gone, and I am left with scraps of a patchwork hot air balloon and little chance of an easterly wind to carry it on. I am grounded for good and the landscape is as colorless as it was once colorful.

Our currency was science, the future, and technology. Did you know that a kiss is an evolutionary development to allow for the exchange of sensory data, allowing us subconscious insights into the minds of our partners? Did you know that even a millisecond of love changes your very makeup, “expanding your awareness of your surroundings, even your sense of self?” And did you know that the loss of love – of heartbreak – impacts the same center of your brain that reacts to physical pain?

Losing love has been tantamount to losing my balance. I never was a very good tightrope walker, and now I walk life with a handicap: the loss of some phantom limb that tips me too much one way or too far another. I compensate for the imbalance – there are crutches I can use, tricks of the carny’s trade. There are sleights of hand and shows of suspense. But in the end, I wish science went further. I wish that drug from “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” existed, for I would choose to wipe you from my memory without a second thought. I wish magic were real and those hot air balloons could fly me to Oz or Wonderland or Narnia…and to forgetting. More than anything, I wish someone would patent a prosthetic for a broken heart.

My money’s on 3D printers. They’ll print you anything these days.


Zainab Chaudary Zainab Chaudary works in politics by day and as a writer by night. Her blog, The Memorist, ruminates upon travel, religion, science, relationships, and the past, present, and future experiences that make up a life. She tweets  @TheMemorist

9 Comments on “The Heart’s Prosthesis”

  1. Alan Howard says:

    Beautiful. I have experienced this elation and this crushing pain. All I wish for is happiness and a good life now. Where to begin?

    • Nida N says:

      Begin with you! Take care of yourself! Do what you love, no matter how difficult it might seem you love anything at the moment. In short, distract yourself.

  2. Nida N says:

    Zainab, I’m wondering if you loved the same creature that I fell in love with years ago. With the same fervor, and inevitable heartbreak. Down to the same phantom-limb pain. I assure you life goes on, and out of these heart wrenching times comes achingly beautiful art. One day, the clouds will part, and you will have clarity and happiness again. And maybe, you’ll be changed again, with another’s love. And maybe, he will see the pieces of your broken heart as shooting stars of your own internal universe.

  3. BB says:

    The thing I think I’ve learned (and I say “I think”, because it seems impossible to completely understand love) is that you never can fix that broken heart. Instead, you grow a new one. If you have ever lost a pet, you may understand what I mean. That pet will never be replaced. It will always hold a special place in your memory. However, when the time is right, a new pet can open a new place in your heart that you never knew existed.
    Beautiful words, Zainab. I had a lot of trouble writing my own words down during my last heartbreak. Tears kept getting in the way. That takes a lot of courage. I can happily say a new heart is growing where the old one used to reside. I don’t even have to try to forget previous loves now. Rather, I see them as stepping stones to prepare me for the now… and the future.

  4. Grateful says:


  5. umaimah says:

    this is amazing… through your excellent choice of words you just made me feel what you must be feeling while writing this post. loved it

  6. Jason Padgett says:

    I’ve been there and you have put it more elegantly then I could ever manage. A beautiful Indonesian Muslim girl, so full of pain and long years of suffering yet so strong a way that defies words. She appeared like an angel to me, full of beauty and light. Without a warning she comes into my life and irreversibly changes me. It was her that softened my, that made me a little braver, she even made me see the world in a brighter way. As if from death unto life, if that makes any sense. when you that “life” you can only return to death and that kind of existence is unbearable. To go from a feeling of being unconquerable and clarity born of feelings whose intensity is akin to a violent gale. To losing both physical and spiritual strength, losing even the will to live. I don’t know how or if anyone can recover from that kind of emptiness. How can you go back to a previous state after knowing a better one?
    I don’t think I would want to forget her even if I could, even if It would make things easier. When she does not believe in love I would rather keep trying. even if it brings years of pain.

  7. schlee93 says:

    This was a beautiful post- it feels very odd to see the exact feelings I’ve had all laid out on a page like that, and your writing is so eloquent. You can really feel the emotion coming through the words. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  8. Nadia says:

    This is so beautiful and eloquently written… I can relate to this so well!! I felt a similar happiness and then the crushing pain after the loss that I still haven’t completely recovered from 2.5 years ago. What’s worse is that I know he is fine and has completely forgotten about me…