Broken Heart

I saw Carl
sitting on his front patio.
I went to him and he asked me
if he ever told me the story
of how he and his wife met.

He talked about
how he was dating someone
and took her to a club.
Rita walked into the room.
He talked about how
he lost his breath
when she appeared.
He talked about how
he was going
to marry her.
A love at first sight
kind of thing.
His girlfriend saw the look
he gave Rita
and dumped him right there.

He pursued Rita and
after a few months of dating
they became married.
Now it is well over fifty years
since they were married.
Rita passed just last week,
and Carl isn’t able to eat
or sleep.

He told his stories
as I saw his drawn face,
and bags under his eyes.
I could see her death
was killing him.
He talked to me
about Rita
for the next hour.
Funny stories and
how much he loved her.

Carl passed away
a few days later.
He is the only person
I have ever known to die
from a broken heart.

©Copyright 2006 by Kurt Rees.
All rights reserved


13 thoughts on “Broken Heart

  1. How sad. This is how true love ends sometimes, with one person not being able to live without the other. It is quite common with older people. 50+ years of marriage is a record in itself, so I can imagine the grief of missing her minute by minute, hour by hour.

  2. My soul mate and I have been married for 42 years…and counting. We met when I was 17 and he was 18. I know how Carl felt. I’m steeling my heart against the pain I know I’ll feel when my time comes…for as day follows night…my time will come.

    • Agreed that it is “Carl’s story to tell,” but it is most certainly the author’s job to give voice and life to that story and do it well. I believe the story could be improved in both areas. This isn’t the proper venue for argumentation but I will be glad to discuss any other points by email.


  3. Very poignant, Kurt. There seems, however, to be an emotional detachment in any real “feelings” you have for Carl. For me, the overall tone is that of a reporter just assembling the facts for a story. The end of the story seems very abrupt and flat and left me wanting to see some compassion, but this may be the effect you intended. I do like the story. If the narrator’s character were developed a bit, I think I would love it.


    • Funny you bring that up. I fought with that and I almost put my feelings with this piece, but I felt it would have taken away from Carl and what he felt. This one was about Carl and not how I felt. I didn’t want my emotions to show through on this one and bury the emptiness Carl had at the time.

      Good observation, I appreciate it.

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