This comment became it’s own story on my own account but this sad and beautiful essay inspired it… >
I get it. Memories abide. Ties and bitterness, especially if it was toxic in any way, are hard to shake off. I’m in the thick of it now after a four year roller coaster with a Jekyll and Hyde who’s moved on to anything and everything right away as he promised he would. “I’ll just move on right away” he declared and so he did I learned running into him at a concert, me alone, him on a bumble date weeks after parting. Cue the meltdown. The memories aren’t just there, they encircle me. They are me. For the time being.
There’s an ex out there I mourned for years and thought for a long while was ‘the one that got away’ but now I can barely remember him let alone imagine how I considered a life in his tableau of friends, family, and hang-ups. I oddly remember a smell of him that isn’t pleasant and another memory that is as unsentimental as you can get: that he taught me the value of wiping windows with newspaper to get a streak free finish. (Try it!) Seriously that is almost all that’s left of a heartbreak that rerouted the direction of my life (for the better).
There’s no emotional attachment left. No more than there is to the deli guy in an old neighborhood. (Maybe less, as those deli guys are there for you when you need salt and vinegar potato chips and a ginger ale at 3am and I always give and get warm hugs when I see them again.) But I remember once when I was mourning this guy, my hair stylist wrapped a towel around my neck and I began to stifle sobs because it smelled so strongly of “ALL”, the detergent he used. I could barely stand being inside my skin because of the raw seemingly relentless grief, I was oozing and anything touching it would sting. But now all I remember is the memory of remembering — but not him. And definitely not any kind of ‘us’. It’s like we never had any contact or business knowing one another. I struggle to see him in my mind’s eye as anything other than the picture thumbnail of him in the ‘other people you may know’ section on LinkedIn as it occasionally crops up.
The query of my unpublished novel written in the aftermath of losing him begins “they say your cells are renewed every seven years” and yes, these cells a couple sevens later are unfamiliar with the cells that felt him. These cells are in another space time continuum with no threads to him. I am a new person head to toe and I imagine so is he.