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Story Saturday: One Sweet Day with an Ex. Are "ex memories" meant to be forgotten?


After a break up, one of the hardest pieces to deal with are the great memories. It’s like an internal mirror reflecting back your love story in sharp-edged broken pieces. They haunt you, they nag you, they take over your mind. These pieces get under your nails, in your eyes, even come with a lingering scent strong enough to choke you. That's why we try hard to forget. But is it really the best course of action? Human beings were created to remember. Which leads me to the question: Are “ex memories” meant to be forgotten? 


Let me share a story with an ex:


Sick in bed, I opened my eyes and saw my bedroom door. It usually was just a door. But that morning, there he was, at my door, with a bunch of flowers and my favorite tarts hidden behind his back. I almost started to cry; I think I actually cried a little. Not just because of the tarts, but how real and ideal the moment was. I was sick and I could be sick. Because there was my heart right there with arms ready to comfort me. He’s not just on the phone miles away. He’s not just a figment of a long-distance relationship. He was right in front of me. It could not be any more real. The mundane stood mightily special before me. I didn't need to be strong at that moment, I could actually be sick and be helpless in his arms. So shallow, haha. But as we say, the simple joys of life. I think we live for these moments. A moment when we are shown love, by the one we love, with their bare hands, and naked soul.


That piece of memory is one of those I don't need to try to remember. It's not in a room of memories I need to open to recall. It’s one that sits on my table and hangs on my wall. It's not the most exciting, but one that makes my heart full. Being in a long-distance relationship with that ex, I was used to receiving flowers through a delivery man. Beautiful, fragrant bunch of velvety flowers, looking like a collection of the world’s wonders. I loved them all, each bouquet he’d send every 7th. But that day, it was the very first time he got to personally hand a bunch to me. That moment was real. And it was beautiful. Why would I want to forget something beautiful. I still can smell the tarts. Matter of fact, let me order some tarts tomorrow. Or maybe not, haha…


What do you do with memories if you have no reason to go back there? If you have nobody to reminisce them with, no future grandchildren to share the story of how you met. The other character has left, with his lines forever forgotten. And the recollection of the moments just pinches your heart at every beat. The scent of that air suffocates you now just thinking about it.


Why does an innocent, joyful moment in time hurts now? I think it hurts because you are now doubtful of its integrity. It hurts because you feel abandoned by the warmth it had brought you before. It hurts because you desperately want to go back to it but you know you cannot. It hurts because you cannot speak of it anymore without being asked of how it ended.


Funny how we tend to re-color the memories in our minds. But the truth is they didn't change, they never moved an inch. What happened, happened. We are just in denial, and too proud to accept that some good things don't last. Too bitter to admit that they meant the world to us at one point. Too jealous of our old selves so we try to cancel it out.


The world might have a grasp of what relationship you and your ex shared, but those magical moments were exclusive for you and him alone. And only you and him bore witness to how you stole each other’s hearts.


How his voice was the answer to every question

How his eyes were your direction to every dream destination 

And you were his world, his everything 

You saw you in his smile, and you in his tears.


Don’t throw away good memories. They are gold. You keep them, they are part of your story. And just like a film strip, it isn't complete with a missing picture.


Savor them, debone them

Break it down, break them apart

For lessons and amusement

For joy and sorrow

Laugh if you must, you have obviously survived them

Cry if you need, you were rooting for the characters

Celebrate your memories together, even on your own.


You create new ones, but you don't have to block old ones. You build from beauty, you don't destroy it to start over. There is no starting "clean" when it comes to this. It's building with it. Those memories could also come in handy. As one day your two characters might cross paths again. Him as he, and you as she. Her as she, you as he. Whatever works, wink wink.


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