When love goes unreturned, unrequited, where exactly does it go?

Love is a force of its own. It may live in us, grow in us and motivate us, but it cannot be controlled by us - just as it cannot be outmaneuvered by logic or outwitted by the clevers of intellect. Love is a fortress built to withstand attack.

So what happens to it when the doors quietly close on our aspirations, or our great love slips out of reach?

It can feel as if a vortex has ripped open our chest, swallowing whole all the joy and hope that once swirled around us. The focus goes out until the world reflects back like a funhouse mirror before it pixelates completely and bursts into a million pieces. When it happens, all we can do is stare helplessly as every jagged piece of what we thought we knew gets stripped away and pulled into the unknown.

But to what end? Where does it go?

Sometimes I wonder if it isn't all collecting somewhere inside us. Perhaps those shattered remains of broken dreams and the corpses of unmet expectations settle atop a funeral pyre, and it's the fires of rage after the loss that burns it all down. Burns it clean. Once the match is struck, what goes up in smoke are the illusions and untruths we let ourselves believe. Then, when the ash has settled and the smoke has cleared, we see for the first time all that's left are the bones of what was real. Soon, grass grows up anew around the fragments as they merge into our foundation, and the vast emptiness we felt begins to come into focus as a sprawling field, rich with new life and possibility. In the distance, the pixelated pieces that survived the flames come together to form a new picture we never knew could exist.

Where does love go? Nowhere. That which is real doesn't truly leave. It doesn't die. It's the root that spreads and grows beneath the soil even as the world around it burns away. Love, truth, pain- when any of these ignite, it destroys the old and clears the way for the new. If our world is on fire, sometimes the only thing we can do is hold on and wait. Once the glowing embers have grown cold and there's nothing left to strip away, it is then we suddenly have everything before us.

Love in all of its ineffable forms has the power to make us free.

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