This is why the rabbis tell us that a broken heart is more full than one that is content: because a broken heart has a vacancy, and the vacancy has the potential to be filled with the infinite.

In the months after the relationship ends, a person can seem to grow at a lightning rate, like in a nature documentary where weeks of footage is run at high speed to show a plant unfurling in seconds, but in reality the person has been growing all along, under the surface, and it is only in their new freedom, in their hair-raising aloneness, that the person can allow for these underground things to break through and unfurl themselves in the light.

But then a foreboding thought cast a shadow over the rest, blunt and unadorned, and it was simply this: that for most of my life I had been emulating the thoughts and actions of other people. That so much I had done or said had been a mirror of what was said and done around me. And that if I continued in this manner, whatever glimmers of brilliant life still burned in me would soon go out. When I was very young it had been otherwise, but I could hardly recall that time, it was buried so far below. I was only certain that a period had existed in which I looked at the things of the world without needing to subordinate them to order. I simply saw, with whatever originality I was born with, the whole of things, without needing to give them a human translation. I would never again be able to see like that, I knew that, and yet, lying there, it seemed to me that I’d failed to fulfill the promise of that vision I once had, before I began to slowly learn to look at everything the way others looked, and to copy the things they said and did, and to shape my life after theirs, as if no other range of being had occurred to me.