The Broken Heart Syndrome
“Sweetie, you’re screaming.”
“Because when I’m talking in a regular volume no one seems to believe me that I put this nonsense with Amy behind me!”
Sheldon stormed off into his room, slamming the door. How could Penny dare saying that he misinterpreted his childhood hero? What did she even know about him? He was just like Spock. Without emotions. Solely rational thoughts. Like a machine. There was nothing that could throw him off.
And yet, he realized, he was rolled up in a fetal position on his bed, moping.
Amy did this to him. She made him feel. She destroyed his perfect, emotionless world. How dare she?! He needed to fix this. Maybe it’s for the best that she and him were broken up now. Sheldon could revert back to his former self. A better time. A time where he didn’t care about other people at all. A time where he didn’t know Amy Farrah Fowler.
Her name made his heart skip a beat. It sounded so perfect; it rolls right off your tongue. Amy Farrah Fowler. Her face appeared in his mind. If only forgetting her would be easier.
Oh, that’s preposterous, he thought. She was an experiment gone wrong. He spent five years on it and recently he thought he was nearing a breakthrough… but then the whole thing just blew up and he couldn’t even figure out why. Was it something he had done? She said so, but maybe she was just defending her own flaws. Her clinginess. Her hardheadedness.
There, he was thinking about her again. The way her eyes had sparkled behind her red-rimmed glasses when they kissed on the couch and the way her cheeks had flushed, first from happiness, then from anger. It all turned bad so quickly.
Sheldon sighed and sat up. They were broken up for about three months now. He hadn’t seen her since their awkward confrontation on the staircase, where she told him that Barry Kripke announced his interest in her and he told her that three years from now he would duel Kripke for the win of her heart.
Why couldn’t he just forget her? Wasn’t a quarter of a year enough time that had passed? Was he that fond of her?
Sheldon was willing to admit out loud that he loved her. She didn’t make him say that, he came to that conclusion on his own. Maybe that’s a turning point for his alleged feelings. Maybe once feelings went so far as to love another human being there was no turning back. That had to be it. He couldn’t forget her, because he… no, his feelings fell in love with her.
Alright then, he could work with that. So all he needed to do was convince her to get back together with him and his moodiness would stop. At least that would make most of his unwanted feelings go away. Well, but I’m stuck with love, I guess.
Leonard and Penny acted very considerate when he came back to the living room, asking how he was doing like good friends should. Wil Wheaton and Adam Nimoy were gone and according to Leonard and Penny, they would add Sheldon’s one-time emotional outburst in the documentary.
This was not acceptable! It would be an undying proof of him having emotions. Sheldon needed to do something right now. Something drastic.
“This is ridiculous.” he decided. “Being upset about Amy all the time isn’t accomplishing anything. I want to resolve this situation so I need to take action.” Bravely, he pulled out the ring box from its hiding place.
“What are you going to do?” Penny asked as if that wasn’t obvious.
“I’m going to find her and ask her to marry me.” Sheldon replied. “If she says yes we can put this behind us and resume our relationship, if she says no…” Sheldon paused. Another repellent feeling moved inside of him, but he couldn’t name it. He just knew that he really wanted Amy to say yes.
Sheldon felt very confident when he walked along the dark street towards Amy’s apartment. He took the night bus, exiting at the nearest station and found that he wasn’t bothered by the bus ride or the darkness as much as he usually would be. His mind was solely concentrating on Amy.
He wondered how he should bring up the topic of marriage while they were in this awkward, strained stage of barely talking to one another. Sheldon was sure that there weren’t any social conventions for his situation, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t try, however.
Maybe he should just ask her bluntly as soon as she opens the door, showing her how desperate he was. Or maybe Amy would find it more romantic when he would explain to her what brought him to his conclusion to marry her. The only problem was that he couldn’t do romantic. Obviously. That’s what their fights were always about and he assumed that was also why they were broken up now.
But regardless, he would go through with this.
Sheldon couldn’t help but smile as he walked on the sideway, eyes fixed on that little black velvet box, imaging Amy’s look on her face when he reveals its content. How her jaw would slacken and how she most likely would tear up. She had turned into such an emotional woman when it came to their relationship. Still no thanks to you, Penny! But Sheldon loved Amy’s smile. He enjoyed seeing her happy.
He was thinking of that very smile when he looked up to cross the street to his destination and stopped dead in his tracks.
There was his Amy, standing on the door step, dressed in a floral dress with her favorite purple cardigan on top. She was facing a stranger. A male stranger. And she was smiling at him. Sheldon didn’t know why, but he realized that he was holding his breath as the stranger came closer to Amy’s face…. and kissed her on the lips. Amy’s lips touched some stranger’s lips. Not his.
Amy turned with a smile and vanished into the building. The stranger went along the road. Sheldon still stood there rooted on the spot. His gaze dropped down to the ring box in his hands.
How could she?
Sheldon didn’t know what to do. Something hurt inside of him. Very strongly. Something… violated him. It was a word that came to his mind and he assumed it applied to him in this moment. All confidence melted from him at once, leaving behind an imaginary sad, dirty puddle of shame on the ground.
And he stood right in the middle of it.
Mechanically, Sheldon put the ring box back in his pocket and hurried back towards the bus station.
He couldn’t recall how he got home. His mind was absolutely blank, which never happened to him before. He turned the key and stepped into apartment 4A. Leonard and Penny were snuggling on the couch, watching TV. They looked up and asked him something, but Sheldon didn’t even acknowledge their presence and went straight for his bedroom instead.
There he was again. Moping. No, this is worse, he realized. He felt truly sick. The pain within him radiated into every fiber of his being. Maybe I should see a doctor. Looks like I’m seriously ill.
A shy knock on his door signalized a visitor.
“Hey, buddy. Can I come in?” Leonard asked softly.
Sheldon shrugged his shoulders. “Last time I checked you had all the required abilities to move. So I suppose you can.”
Leonard closed the door behind him and sat at the edge of Sheldon’s bed. “Uhm, I guess it didn’t go well with Amy then, huh?”
“I wouldn’t say it like that.” Sheldon replied, his voice muffled by the cushion he pressed against the side of his face. “I didn’t get to the stage of actually asking her, so the outcome of this scenario is still not proven.”
“What happened? Did you chicken out?” Leonard asked.
“No,” Sheldon stressed. “I most definitely did nothing that is even remotely related to a vicious, oviparous bird.”
“So, what happened then?”
Sheldon shrugged his shoulders again. “I don’t know. I went to Amy’s apartment and I saw her outside, kissing another man’s lips and then suddenly I was feeling very ill and had to aboard my mission.”
“Oh, buddy, that’s awful. I’m so sorry.” Leonard said compassionately.
“Thanks.” Sheldon said. “Although, I’m surprised that you even care about my health. Last time I announced that I was feeling ill, you left the apartment in a mad rush and I didn’t see you for the following three days.”
“No, that’s not what I meant.” Leonard said patiently. “I was referring to you seeing Amy kiss another man. That must be heartbreaking for you.”
Sheldon pondered for a moment. “It’s really not. I mean, I do feel a strange pain in my chest, but I believe it’s of physical nature.” He sat up, lifting his double-shirts. “Speaking of which, do you see any kind of swelling or redness on my chest?”
Leonard squeezed his eyes shut and averted his gaze. “What, no! This isn’t something you could see on your body… well, at least if you’re not developing an eating disorder to ease the pain.”
Sheldon put his shirts back down, looking alarmed. “Really? That can happen? I guess I have to see a doctor after all.” he mused.
“No, Sheldon, you don’t understand.” Leonard sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Look, what you’re experiencing right now is directly caused by Amy and this other guy. You’re lovesick, buddy.”
Sheldon inhaled appalled. “I highly doubt that. There’s no way this grave, physical pain could be caused by anything as shallow and vague as emotions.”
“I beg to differ.” Leonard said with a small smile.
“Well, I beg your pardon! Sheldon Cooper does not get lovesick!” he stated vehemently.
“Okay, if that’s the case then tell me what exactly did you feel when you saw Amy kiss that man?” Leonard challenged, his arms crossed over his chest.
“Pff, that’s very difficult to explain. As I told you and Penny before I’m not a man driven by emotions.” Sheldon said stubbornly.
Leonard rolled his eyes. “Of course not. Then let’s start with something that should be easy for you. Did you feel angry?”
“Oh, yes, I did!” Sheldon was quick to reply. “I mean, how could Amy do that to me? She once told me that she loves me and as soon as we’re apart she’s running around kissing strange men.”
“Maybe she longed for some romantic interactions.” Leonard guessed.
“But I tried very hard to give her that, too. She knew that I tried! I enjoy seeing her happy. Leonard, I even told her that I love her. Doesn’t that count for anything?”
Leonard breathed in to say something, but Sheldon already continued his rant, now obviously full of pent up emotions that needed to get out somehow.
“I was the first person to tell her that, I was her first boyfriend and I was the first one who kissed her passionately. I thought we had something special! When I saw her kiss that man it felt like she suddenly didn’t feel the same way as I did anymore. I felt violated and crushed and also sad, because, obviously, I couldn’t make her happy. She had to go and find someone better. And now she did, she’s smiling at him, not at me anymore and she will never marry me!”
Sheldon inhaled, shakily. Leonard had moved closer to him and laid his arm around his friend’s shoulder. Sheldon looked down to his slender, trembling fingers and felt something wet rolling down his cheek. Startled, he looked up to his best friend when the wetness dropped down into his lap, his blue eyes glistening. “Leonard… I’m… I’m crying!”
Leonard fought to hold back his own tears and tightened the grip on Sheldon’s shoulder. “That’s okay, buddy. It’s okay to cry.”
Paralyzed, Sheldon wiped over his cheek. He had never cried in front of anybody else than his mother. Not with tears. He had sobbed and sniffled and let his closest friends – that’s Amy, Leonard and Penny – hug him, but he had never actually shed tears.
“That means I’m emotional, right?” Sheldon asked meekly and Leonard nodded. “So, assuming that my tears are caused by Amy… oh, Leonard, I am lovesick!” Sheldon concluded.
“Yeah, you are.” Leonard said. “But that’s okay. You don’t have to be ashamed. It only shows how much Amy means to you.”
“But what is it worth for? She apparently doesn’t feel the same for me.” Crestfallen, Sheldon dropped his gaze again.
“That’s nonsense!” Leonard objected. “Amy adores you! Sometimes I’m amazed just how much she loves you. She’s incredibly patient with you and she is maybe the only person who truly and wholly understands you.”
“Are you sure? She’s not acting like she loves me.” Sheldon pointed out.
“That’s because she’s hurt, too.” Leonard tried to explain. “It seems that you hurt her feelings without noticing and now she’s trying to convince herself that she doesn’t love you and that she can fill up the hole in her heart with someone else instead.”
Sheldon furrowed his brows. “Amy has a hole in her heart?”
“Well, not literally, but figuratively speaking. She had you in her heart and now that you’re broken up she feels empty.”
“Oh, I understand... I feel empty, too.” Sheldon noticed, unconsciously touching his hurting chest again. He and Leonard sat in silence for a moment. Sheldon fiddled with his hands, looking into his lap, lost in thoughts. “Well, I don’t want to involuntary hurt her feelings again. Maybe she really is better off without me. For an amazing and brilliant woman like Amy it shouldn’t be hard at all to find someone better.”
“Don’t say that, Sheldon. Amy wouldn’t be nearly as happy with someone else as she is with you, okay, I’m sure of it. Just give her some time and eventually she’ll come around.” Leonard rubbed his friend’s back and they looked at each other again. “What you two had was special. She knows that.”
Sheldon sighed much calmer now. “Thank you, Leonard. It’s comforting to know that you think so. I only hope, despite many other times, that you’re right.”
Leonard smiled about the rare occurrence of Sheldon’s somewhat considerate side. “I’ll leave you to your own now. Get some rest.”
“Leonard?” Sheldon asked when his friend was at the door. “How come you know so much about the topic of love?”
Leonard snorted. “Are you kidding me? Penny and I broke up for what felt like a hundred times before we got married. You and Amy are doing just fine. You simply hit a rough patch.” Leonard assured before exiting his friend’s room.
Sheldon cocked his head to the side, thinking. Then he shrugged. He’s right. He’s an expert when it comes to lost love. If somebody could estimate my chances with Amy, it’s Leonard. I should probably trust his advice. Sheldon glanced at his bedside table where he put down the ring box. He stared at it for a whole while.
Then he smiled, thinking about Amy yet again.