Zayn Malik Has Broken Our Hearts, and Not in a Good Way

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What’s broken cannot always be fully fixed. What’s lost may not be entirely recovered, pieces still missing, strewn into the unknown forever. Bones heal weaker, scars show. So when we hear that Zayn Malik, smoulder-eyed pride of West Yorkshire, is still not on the best of terms with his former One Direction bandmate Louis Tomlinson—elfin earl of South Yorkshire—we have to accept that reality.

Tomlinson and Malik, who are both now pursuing solo projects, had a falling out back when Malik abruptly quit One Direction. They’d been very close as bandmates, presumably braiding each other’s hair and whispering unfathomable secrets to one another as their tour bus zoomed under inky midnight skies. But then Malik decided he was done with the band and everything was torn asunder.

They patched things up, though, or had some kind of reconciliation at least. There was news about that. So there we were, foolishly thinking that everything was back to normal, that the world was a perfect whole again, round and blue and just the right temperature. But! We were foolish to think that. Something as damaged as Zouis (Layn? Tomlik?) really can’t be restored to the what it once was. Malik has confirmed that to Us Weekly, saying, “It’s not the way it used to be, obviously we were a lot closer because we were together the entire time, spending 24 hours a day in the band and now we’re not so we’re living our own lives, we’re all growing as individual men and we still keep in touch and check in with each other not as much as we used to.”

So, there’s the melancholy, bittersweet reality. Children get older, people grow apart. Things between Malik and Tomlinson are no longer contentious, but they are not exactly warm, either. It’s sad, isn’t it? What time can do.

But look. It’s . . . It’s not even the saddest thing that Malik said to Us Weekly. (He hosted a party for the magazine during New York Fashion Week, that’s why he was talking to them.) No, there is something far worse, something we feel we are duty-bound to show you. Brace yourselves, because Zayn also said this: “To be honest, I never really spoke to Harry even when I was in the band. So I didn’t really expect that much of a relationship with him when I left. And I haven’t [had one] to be honest.”

Never . . . really . . . spoke . . . to Harry Styles?! What is happening here?? Is everything we believed a lie? What are we to make of things like this, when one party is saying there was nothing there, not then, not now, not in the future? Has all the time we spent wondering and dreaming and believing, all that utter faith we cast up toward the firmament, been done under a falsehood? If Zayn and Harry barely ever spoke and don’t have any kind of a relationship and seemingly never did, then what else isn’t true? What else that we blindly trusted, ordered our lives around without question, never actually existed?

These are some big existential questions, ones we’ll probably be pondering until the end of our days. Did anyone in One Direction really like or know each other? Have any of them ever, y’know? Is Liam Payne even real? The whole world is chaos and questioning now. The falcon cannot hear the falconer, and perhaps there never was a falcon at all, nor a falconer, nor a band of five British boys who all loved each other deeply and sweetly. Maybe nothing was what we thought it was. And now certainly never will be.

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