The Dating

Have you ever wondered how an ex-lover remembers you? I think it's human nature to remember things in a more exaggerated fashion than they actually occurred. Happy times are remembered as the best moments of your life. Sad times are remembered as near tragedies that only one with Job-like strength could survive. I think relationships are the same way. That love that got away might be remembered as possibly the love of your life and, damn it, how could you have been so foolish to let it end?

I'm sure many of your relationships were just as good or bad as you remember them. But all you can really know is how you feel. Wouldn't it be great if you had some insight into how your ex would categorize the relationship, just to see if you both view that slice-of-life in the same way? A little over a week ago I got that chance. Apparently, while I was on vacation, an old beau (whom I'll call Campbell here) tried to visit me at work. My co-workers wouldn't give him my home number or anything but did give him a chance to write me a message.

Boy howdy, did he leave me a message.

He was driving from Texas back to his home in Cleveland and stopped in Cincinnati just to find me. Not for a bathroom break or to drive through McDonald's, but to find me. Now here are some factual details that are not in dispute that you, dear reader, must understand. We dated more than five years ago. He dumped me. He has been married longer than I have and still is married. OK, so he stops and leaves me this note. I won't reprint it in it's entirety here but I will betray his confidence by sharing this one quote, "I have the fondest memories of you ... and you are the one past girlfriend that I think of often and smile."

I gotta tell ya that I am flattered beyond all reason. It was a nice letter under any circumstances, but especially uplifting when your having an adult acne attack and your doctor just told you to lose 35 pounds. After I came off my cloud the next thought to come to me was, "Are you kidding me?" Fond memories of me? I'll give you this: Campbell was definitely one of the best-looking guys I ever dated with the most potential to succeed, but the memory train ends there. He never got any booty so he's not having fond memories of that. Although I pride myself on the ability to make conversation in any circumstances, our dates were rife with creepy silences.

There is the memory disparity. He's having fond memories, and I'm thinking, yeah, whatever. My man says he sounds like a stalker. So who is remembering the relationship as it really was? Could the correct answer be neither one of us? Campbell and I are both too close to the situation to be objective but, considering the outcome, it's OK. And since neither of us is trashing the other, there's no harm done. He remembers me fondly, and I remember him as a hottie with a big dick. (I never said I didn't see the equipment.) He should take that compliment and run with it.

We probably all remember the past in ways that help us sleep better at night. Even if it means glossing over the rough edges a bit. I'm glad at least one ex-boyfriend remembers me in a good light, whether I deserve it or not. As for his request that I call him so we can "catch up," that reminds me of another thing about memories. Sometimes they should stay in the past where they belong.