*Disclaimer- Due to the proliferation of 16hr work days and (admittedly fun) social obligations in my life lately, I find myself behind the 8-ball on this post. So I’ve decided to post something I wrote a while back that I think ties in nicely to Wendy’s post about itches from the past. I hope you like it. *
I received an email today from my oldest and dearest friend. We haven’t spoken in a while, but she admitted something she felt she could only tell me. She had recently cyber stalked her ex-boyfriend. She had followed a trail of Facebook breadcrumbs that had lead her to photos of him, his wife, their vacation in Mexico and their toy poodle. And she was ashamed. Also, she was karmically punished, as she literally ran into him while on a jog two days later. It has her spinning. Not because she’s sad and alone, she’s with a lovely guy in a committed relationship. But he’s her ex. And he continued existing after they broke up.
Now cyber stalking is nothing unusual. I’ll admit to more than my fair share of it. Despite the fact that my ex lives in, not just another city but another country, any time I feel the need to poke the wound I just need to load up his band’s web page to see how he’s living it up as a retro rock star in NYC… complete with celebrity guest stars. I won’t lie, it’s not comfortable… but somehow comforting… to see pictures of him rocking out onstage. It was one of his more sexy traits, the way the testosterone dripped off him when he sang… or was that just sweat? There is a slight perspective I’ve gained, but the pain is still there. A ghost of what it was… they way it feels when you run your finger over scar tissue. You can’t feel it, but you can. The sensation is unique and almost indescribable.
And THE Ex isn’t the only way I can poke at old wounds. There’s a rotating list of ones that got away. The too young for me guy from university… sweet, goofy, and not quite grown into himself… who years later reappeared as a muscular, suave geologist… a geologist that I let get away- twice. The guy I glanced at once across the room at a friend’s party who married into the group and is expecting his first child. The guy I could have had an affair with if I didn’t have scruples about that. Even guys I’ve tossed aside as not worthy, not up to snuff… they all find their partner, settle down, go about their lives.
Somehow I want them to stop existing when they leave my world. There is something supremely disconcerting when the specters of the past reappear… especially when they are the ghosts of what could have been. Honestly, it doesn’t even help when I’m besotted with another at the time. I’ve had the privilege of introducing my (much more handsome, well built and successful) current boyfriend to an old flame. It tastes like victory, only stale… or with some sort of aftertaste…. of what could have been.
The truth is, I’ve never been completely able to remove someone from my heart once I’ve found them a place. They may move out, but their presence is forever stamped there… a song, a favorite food, silly rituals, the weight of their arm around your waist. Black Russians, Eggs in the Morning, Convertibles on a Summer Highway, New York City… they all connect back to someone, somewhere. A someone who didn’t cease to exist when he left your world, or you kicked him out… a someone who still has a life that goes on and changes and evolves. A life with his wife, his vacation, and his stupid little dog. All you can hope is that when he runs a finger over the scar that is you, he feels something strange and altogether indescribable too.
Image credit 2015: bsteis