So, today I was trying to clean Gorilla glue© off my hands (having smeared it all over them while repairing the bird feeder), and in desperation, poured Listerine© over them– and I was sent flipping backwards in time to when I used to date this silly man who tried to treat his fungal toenail by soaking his feet in Listerine and tea tree oil every day for week.
It gave me a laugh, and a wee happy thought about T, who taught me about how blue eyes work on me, who lured me in with used bookstore ownership, who dumped me hours from home so I had to sit with him in a car in the dark, viewing all the future I had planned/lost. I had been trying to get him to drop me for months, but it still hurt. Wait, there WERE happy thoughts in there somewhere…
The problem is, when I have these little glimmers of remembrance, I always want to reach out to the person who stars in them, and say , “Do you remember when …,” and have a good chuckle together. This simply isn’t done, Karen (as that cat would say), and yet these people I’ve dated over time have shared fun times and bad with me, and sometimes it would be nice to have a coffee together and have a laugh over our respective foibles.
My sister has softly pointed out to me, and she may be right, that most people wouldn’t have fond memories involving toenail fungus. What can I say? The bar has been set very low.
This is why my memories include:
- being hit in the face with a Boston Cream Pie by someone who did not know it was actually a cake.
- being tested with virtual callipers to identify my fat zones
- eating an undecorated chicken breast in a room festooned with self-help and Reader’s Digest Condensed books
- singing karaoke to “I did it my way” with a singularly self-obsessed fellow who, alas, didn’t get the point
- getting a hole in one and having to apologize for it for the other 17 holes…
- having lunch with a man who told me about the horse he visited, Dulcinea, and what she told him.
- discussing the value of white with a self-called visual guy who wasn’t impressed with my form but who went on and on about various illnesses and allergies because obviously, who wouldn’t want HIM?
- Futilely trying to talk dirty to someone on the phone only to dissolve into helpless giggles. Who DOES these things? How do they keep a straight face? Or self-respect?
Okay, so most of these memories don’t deserve reliving. This is a fault of my memory – if asked to recall things, it goes all blank and foggy and filled with mould, but when I find myself in a given situation, the people involved all spring to life and I miss them.
I do. Really.
This is the thing no one talks about in the dating sphere. You meet people, you share some time together, you break up, and you lose all those shared memories.
In my desperate moments, I wonder if any of this ever crosses the thoughts of the men I’ve known. Did I exert all that effort to be charming, sexy, funny, almost normal, hairless, only to be forgotten like last week’s Tim Horton’s© doughnut? Do I ever occur to them, the way they occur to me?
Or is this yet another place where my significance is nil? Where my presence barely ripples the top of the water as I slip in?
Worst thing is, you can never ever meet up to talk to previous dating partners without a feeling of ick. Because, in with the memories, there is the reason you are no longer together, and it keeps making faces at you. Regrets, anger, sadness, fury dance around your mind, added to smells and tastes and …well, you get the point…and likely, they are seeing the same pictures of you, hair askew, spinach in teeth, generally NOT WANTED ON VOYAGE.
Because one of the things that happens when a relationship breaks up is you feel compelled to explain to yourself why it did. You embroider little horns on heads, attach visuals that a kind person would forget, tell the bad stories over and over again, for a while. (Not that some of my dates haven’t been disgusting. They have. I might be, too, but I’d prefer not to dwell on that.)
Then, when you pour Listerine© over your hand, the good and bad flood back in equal measure. Perhaps it’s a good thing we can’t revisit past relationships….
Still, I wonder…
“Do I ever occur to them, the way they occur to me?”
Yes, you do.
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