When you are in a relationship with someone for some time, you are going to create lasting memories together, but what happens to those memories when the relationship is no more? They still exist, but how are we supposed to remember them: with feelings of fondness, indifference, spite…? Is there a rule?
My Ex was the type of person who hated Valentine’s Day, saying that it was a Hallmark Holiday that should never be acknowledged. After the first few February 14th’s spent together, he got the hint: I liked Valentine’s Day and I wanted him to support that sentiment; not necessarily like it, but try to make a little effort. One of my favorite memories of Valentine’s Day was spent one year at a local airport. He worked at the airport and helped arrange a pancake breakfast for the aviation community. Pilots flew in from the surrounding area and brought their significant others to enjoy breakfast with good company. There was a good amount of snow on the ground (about a foot or so) and one of the pilots arrived in his WWII tail-dragger with skis in place of wheels. I’d never seen anything like it! The Ex knew the pilot and asked if he would give me a ride. IT WAS AMAZING! I mean, flying is flying for the most part, but it’s not everyday you get to ride in an old military plane and land on the snow.
Then there was our first (and only) real vacation we had together. We went down to Corpus Christi, TX where he was born and raised during the early years of his life. He still had family in the area who were nice enough to put us up for a week while we went gallivanting around town. There are so many memories I have of this trip: when we went to the aquarium and I got to see sea turtles (which I love!); when I first went surfing; when I got to ride a horse on the beach for the first [and the second ;)] time; when I first tried What-A-Burger; when I almost stepped on a sting ray walking on the beach (scar-ry); exploring the house and marina that my Ex had grown up in (there may or may not have been some trespassing involved); when we got to explore a retired aircraft carrier, the USS Lexington; but out of all those amazing memories, the one that stands out in my mind is when we were hanging out on the pier one night. We had walked to the end of a jetty where we were all alone. There was a live band playing somewhere in the distance. The Ex grabbed me and we began slow dancing. I remember it like it was yesterday…
There was also the magical New Year’s Eve we enjoyed together… We spent the evening with the Ex’s brother and his pregnant wife. We went to dinner and ate some amazing food; went ice skating (my first time); played Dance Dance Revolution to kill some time before midnight; all very normal date-night type activities… We then made our way downtown where we met some friends of friends in a back alley. They led us to the back of a mom-and-pop shop and up some stairs. We ended up on a rooftop right next to where the ball was dropping with thousands of people below in the street. After taking some pics and cheering with the crowd, the ball dropped, the clock struck midnight, and the Ex dipped me and gave me my New Year’s kiss. Priceless.
So as you can tell, I have some fabulous memories with my Ex, but what do they mean now? A part of me feels ashamed to have such fondness for my memories spent with my Ex since I’m in a new relationship, but at the same time, they are still high points in my life, so why shouldn’t I enjoy them?
Then there are those memories I have that I wish I didn’t share with my ex; the kind that should be happy, but have been tarnished by him…
When I was in high school, I played the flute and I was pretty good. I even made tri-county band which was one of the highlights in my musical career; only the best of the best was selected to join tri-county band and I made second chair, so yeah… I was decent. Tri-county band consisted of rehearsing Friday night, all day Saturday, then performing on Sunday; very intensive, but for the dedicated band geek (such as myself), it was a blast! So it’s understandable that I wanted my loved ones to be there for the concert. If my parents and my second parents (parents’ friends whom I have adopted) had t-shirts with my face printed on them with a supportive slogan across the chest, this would be the time to wear them, but in place of the shirts, they came with rings on their fingers and bells on their toes. Kidding of course, but boy were they a rambunctious crew. But my heart still breaks to this day because the Ex decided that taking an extra shift at work was more important.
As I mentioned in my Letter, I graduated Community College with two Associates degrees to my name. Talk about a proud moment, especially for someone coming from Small Town U.S.A where 18% of females don’t even make it out of high school with their diploma before nursing a bun in the oven and 56% of females graduate only to get knocked up and enter into motherhood. I was part of the 26% that made it out of the inevitable trap of Where The Heart Is and not just that; I did it all by myself. I worked hard, studied hard, and went through the roughest time of my life, but came out on the other side with two pieces of paper stating I meant something in the education realm. You would think a so called boyfriend would share in that happiness and show his support… instead, the Ex made me feel insignificant. “It’s just an Associate’s degree…” It’s two Associate’s degrees ya’ dick wad!
I convinced the Ex to take swing dance lessons with me. It was something I always wanted to do and he reluctantly agreed. The class we took was a 2 month class that met once a week. We completed the lesson and it turned out that we were pretty good. We put our training to the test one year when we attended a fundraiser with the theme of War Time Swing. There was a costume contest and a dance competition. We walked away with 1st place in costume and 2nd place in the dance competition; 1st place going to a couple who actually taught swing. Suffice to say, we actually knew what we were doing. Fast forward a few years: the Ex’s regiment had completed its first year in the Corp of Cadets and they celebrated the occasion with a formal ball. Ask any girl if she wants to go to a ball and you will for sure get an enthusiastic nod of the head with a twinkle in her eye, fantasizing of being Cinderella for one night.
When we first arrived, him in his formal dress whites and me in a light blue silk gown, the regimental band was playing Big Band with a jazzy singer dressed in an old style military get-up with 3 perfectly primped backup singers. I was so excited to show off our moves, but since no one else was dancing, the Ex didn’t want to go out on the floor with me. “I’ll dance with you once the Commandant makes his speech.” Wouldn’t you know it, after the ‘Good on you for making it this far, have fun’ speech, the band was shuffled out and the DJ started spinning. Now, I’m not the bump-and-grind kinda gal, so to say I was upset that I missed my chance to dance is a bit of an under statement. Looking back on that evening, I don’t remember spending hours on my hair and makeup getting ready, my stomach filled with butterflies, the look on the Ex’s face when he first saw me, or how funny I was trying (and failing) to gracefully walk through 2 feet of snow in a formal gown and heels with the winds gusting over 30mph; all I remember is not getting my chance to dance at a real life ball.
It makes me wonder how the Ex remembers our past we share. Does he realize how much of an impact these handful of memories had on me, positive and negative? Does he remember them like I do? Probably not. Like I’ve said (and will continue to say): I am a hopeless romantic, and like us romantics do, we romanticize the shit out of everything. I’d like to think he was my prince charming at that point in time; that he did everything deliberately for my happiness. He was my chivalrous gentleman who opened the door for me and carried a handkerchief. He would walk on the outside of the sidewalk and give me his jacket when I was cold, but was he doing these things out of love, or to make himself look good? At this point, it could go either way.
If it’s not obvious, I have mixed feelings when it comes to some of the memories I share with my ex, but like they say, everything happens for a reason, so I will cherish the few good memories and try to let go of the bad.
Do you have memories that you share with your ex that you wish you didn’t? Any insight as to whether they should just be forgotten or not? Let me know below.