The Museum of Broken Relationships

By Jonathan Starke

April 25, 2016

The Museum of Broken Relationships

There’s this letter on the wall in there that a young boy writes to a young girl during the Bosnian War. They meet at gunpoint, marching toward a van that will drive them to a war camp. The girl doesn’t know the boy loves her. Some will say the boy doesn’t know what real love is yet. If he does, the war camp will break him of it. He talks about a collection of songs in his head that he wants to give to her on tape when the war is over. He writes that he wants to tell her he loves her, that when they split her away from him at the camp, it was all he ever wanted to say. He has said it now—in scars and years and yearning and ink. She could walk into the museum and read it right on the wall. It wouldn’t take so much. It would only require a map of this human heart, the understanding that love can grow over bullets and blackness.


Image provided by Antony Mayfield via Flickr's Creative Commons licence.

Comments (10) - Post a Comment
This is lovely. Love the lyrical accumulation.
Rose at 3:46pm EDT - April 25, 2016
I connect with this lovely piece and am glad you wrote it.
Claudia Geagan at 5:27pm EDT - April 25, 2016
This handwritten letter tell us so much about human suffering and love. It's painful to think how much he endured and no one knows if he ever found love or even lived.
Peggy Lamb at 1:16am EDT - April 26, 2016
The world hurts, and you made beauty out of the pain. Thank you.
Nicola Waldron at 8:09am EDT - April 26, 2016
There is so much implied in that letter and this piece---the way love can create its own inviolable space that endures, in the midst of war and beyond. Thank you for this.
Sue Repko at 8:25am EDT - April 26, 2016
A moving piece, and a lyrical last line.
Gail Folkins at 3:39pm EDT - April 26, 2016
I wanted to thank everyone for your very warm and kind comments about my essay. Your words mean a lot to me. If any of you are ever in Zagreb, Croatia, I highly recommend visiting the beautiful and thoughtful museum. Thank you again, and I appreciate River Teeth for accepting the essay.
Jonathan Starke at 2:18pm EDT - April 29, 2016
What a lovely essay. I've come across many other works by Jonathan and always learn something new about the world and am humbled by his beautiful visions of it.
Devin Murphy at 2:40pm EDT - April 29, 2016
This was so poignant and touched my heart. I don't comment much, but his time I just had to. Thank you, for this short piece on HOPE
Rosanna C. Rogacion at 11:43pm EDT - May 19, 2016
This piece touched my heart and it inspired me to continue writing and one day I hope some of my pieces can be published... Thank you Jonathan Starke
Kayania A. Hermol at 10:32am EDT - May 26, 2016

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