It’s Valentine’s Day 2/14/14. On this day we’re supposed to think of love and loved ones, perhaps more so than on any other day. But as a writer I normally approach the subject of love from the opposite end of that spectrum – broken relationships. Heartbreak is the manna from which real human stories are made. Think about it. If every story and every relationship was a happily-ever-after, how boring would that be? And how unrealistic? (Sorry die-hard romance fans.)
We humans evolve from broken relationships, we grow into the people we are, and are to become, from how, and how often, our heart is broken. The irony with this post is that not only is there an entire museum dedicated to broken relationships, but that it sits in Zagreb, Croatia the setting for my next novel, Summer Symphony. The new novel deals with… (drum roll please) a broken relationship, a broken man, a broken woman, a broken marriage and all the outside forces that conspire to shape how those inside the relationship should view themselves.
The Museum of Broken Relationships collects artifacts from severed bonds and severed hearts. They come in from around the world as small monuments to the broken heart.
The tag with the watch above reads: A gift from S.K. She loved antiquities — as long as things were old and didn’t work. That is precisely the reason why we’re not together any more.
As I looked through the displays I couldn’t help but wonder that the correlation of so many heartbreaks seemed to come more and more from the human misunderstanding about what love isn’t versus what it is. Love isn’t devotion, and it isn’t yearning. It isn’t lust and it isn’t passion. It is beyond affection and yet too often falls short of respect and tenderness. Why is that I wonder?
Maybe that in itself is the reason the museum exists and continues to grow – because we have no definition of love that is unique to the individual. We have this idea, we have this concept, and yet like all things wonderful, love defies real definition. Maybe we only know love when we know it? Nobody can tell us what it is, who it pertains to or what it stands for when it is our own. And maybe that is the secret elusive beauty of love which we all seek.
Photo Credit: brokenships.tumblr.com