Headache vs. Heartache

Headache. The name says it all. Tell a stranger you have a headache and he knows exactly what ails you. He might even have a good recommendation to cure it. Like, take a pill. Tell a stranger you have a heartache and he has no idea what to say next. There is no simple recommendation, no pill.

Headaches are always in your head; heartaches are never in your heart, not the organ, anyway. You have no control for the onset of a headache, but you can forestall heartaches with just strong will.

A headache creates a sharp pain that is impossible to ignore. It can be unbearable, but most headaches are short lived and you make a full recovery. The pain a heartache causes can’t be measured on such a simple scale as sharp or dull. Like the tide, heartaches ebb and flow over time, but the ocean is always present. The pill you take comes in the form of your next deep breath. Usher in a new thought wave.

Headaches are real. You can see the suffering all over a person’s face. Heartaches are real, too, but the suffering rarely shows itself to the world. With both aches, your world closes around you and life becomes impossibly small. It’s easy to understand the one ache, impossible to understand the other. And with both, you can only wait away the pain.

You never relive the same headache, each is stingingly different. You always relive the same haunting heartache.

Time heals all wounds they say, and that’s true enough. If we’re lucky, we outlive all of our headaches and our heartaches. It takes a while, but eventually we realize that neither ache leaves a scar.

These aching thoughts have been weighing heavily on me now that Knock Softly has come to a conclusion. There are a lot of aches at the end of my story; head, heart and otherwise. Correctly tying these internal pains together with their actors on the printed page is causing migraines in this author’s head.

And I have a heavy heart at this point in the story. I know I’m leaving now and I won’t be returning. This is the point the author has to say goodbye. Like good friends, I’ve become fond of my characters. Unlike good friends, I’ll never hear from these actors again. Like a heartache, this goodbye is final but never really over.

But I can’t let my own aches and pains get in the way. It’s only fair that the reader has a taste of these main characters’ futures. After a sumptuous main course, I can’t let a lousy dessert spoil the meal. I’m serving up Bittersweets for dessert in Knock Softly. Bon appetit!


    • Sue Remisiewicz on April 26, 2015 at 5:33 pm
    • Reply

    Somehow the phrase ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all’ seems fitting here. Congratulations and commiserations on reaching the end of your novel.

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