I can’t rest because I keep toying, sadistically, with the concept of heartbreak. I’m not just pondering the concept; I’m forcing myself to re-experience what the edges of it feel like. The hollowness in my chest. The inability to breathe. The weight in my stomach. The disassociation from limbs. The pressure of tears welling. The tightening of my throat. The utter illness. The nausea that wants to expel all the love you had but can’t get it out quick enough.

The sensations can’t fully wash over me because I’m not heartbroken. In fact, I’m the polar opposite. I’m deeply in love and falling impossibly harder every day. But if scientific law is that every action has an opposite and equal reaction then what is the opposite reaction of falling in love if not bone-crushingly landing into heartbreak. If love is weightless and breathing and fullness and wholeness and light and unrestrictive and healthy then even when I am in love I can access the edges of what it feels like to be heartbroken. Two sides of the same coin do share the same perimeter after all.

So it feels like my most analytical and neurotic self is the Experimenter running simulations on my Emotions. Emotions is strapped to the table and she really doesn’t want to be there but maybe if she doesn’t fight it’ll be over soon, and who knows it might help. Experimenter is a frantic planner we must conduct every possibility be prepared for every emotional tidal wave. The simulation certainly won’t stop anything from happening but at least the Subject won’t be unprepared so we run the tests.

They are excruciating.

Emotions sits through the breakup simulations w/different plots. He doesn’t love you anymore. He’s found someone else. The circumstances just aren’t right. Emotions can’t tell which hurts worse. They all hurt. The latter is the most frustrating though. It feels the most unfair.

Emotions sits through the aftermath. Telling dad. Mom. Your friends. The rest of the world slowly figuring it out. It’s all humiliating. A stamp of validation that the Subject is not good enough.

Emotions sits through the loneliness. Hears every song that reminds the Subject of him. Every movie scene and character. Every snack. Every location. One by one decimated leaving white noise and the ashes of a thing that was.

The Subject is disturbed. Deeply.

Experimenter is annoyed. Every time he touches the subject the simulation is disrupted. A corporeal reminder that the simulation is just that. Experimenter has to run the tests all over again, and Emotions can only take so much. But we have to practice. And we have to practice now.

Every time the Subject falls further she gets closer to the ground. And she will be broken. That’s unnegotiable. The simulations are not preventative. They’re meant to shore up her defenses so that when’s she breaks she does not shatter. 10 pieces are more manageable than a million. She’s broken into a thousand before. The work to undo that has yet to finish.

The Subject will die on the inside when she breaks, but she will not falter on the outside. No missteps no episodes only a shell. She will sink into her wounds where no one can find her, and she won’t come back out until she feels safe again, if ever.

The most unethical and painful experiment ever conducted.

The most necessary results ever required.

The Experimenter, Emotions, and the Subject do share a common thread. They are scared of the unknown. So the simulation begins again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again

because fake known pain is still safer than real unknown pain.

Undergraduate student | just writing into the void | topics of interest: race, gender, music, and culture | Instagram: liyahh.allen