Monday, July 22, 2019

Memory Lane Without GPS

Last week, in a strange twist of fate I caught up with two people from my past that are somehow connected even though they have never met. I saw one of them in person and exchanged e-mails with the other. The latter was somebody whom I have a very passionate and emotionally-charged history with. He had been more or less "dead" to me for years, then re-emerged about 2 years ago and just as I had learnt to trust him again and contemplate a happy ending, disappeared once more last spring. It came as a blow even though I was determined to behave like a mature grown-up for once and not spiral down the drama route. I managed quite well at the time and happily took advantage of any distractions that offered themselves but it turned out I had kept a lot of emotions bottled up. Recently these all re-emerged. I decided to swallow my pride and reach out, expecting a certain reaction and subsequent course of events. As a former colleague once said: "When women are upset, they want a hug, not arguments." Part of me bristles at such a generalisation and cliché, but, yep, I am SO that woman, every time. Despite heavy hinting that I really wanted the hug, I got all the arguments. Burnt again. Ah, well.
Way happier and just as predictable as I had hoped was my reunion with an old friend of mine whom I had not seen for 11 years. We met in Milan this past weekend and had about 30 hours to catch up and take up where we had last left off. Which we did...seamlessly! About 13 years ago she in fact had been the one who encouraged me to follow my heart and try my luck with the person I was talking about above. Back then, she lived in London and was one of a few people who knew how torn and conflicted I felt. In a nutshell, it was very complicated. I described to her that what I felt had turned "lukewarm" in my long-term relationship felt "hot" and alive with him and I realised I was sick of lukewarm. She encouraged me to take a jump and go for the hot, not knowing that I would end up burning myself not once, but several times. I have nobody else to blame, but myself, but I would have given myself the same advice and would still tell anyone to follow their hearts even though you unfortunately cannot calculate what the other person's heart - assuming they have one - tells them to do.
Every time I am in London I am reminded of the fun and carefree weekends I spent there being hosted by l'Italiana who back then had a fancy career and did cool things, such as take a whole year off to go travelling with her best friend from work. London weekends just aren't the same without her, but we might make weekends in Milan or elsewhere in Italy a new tradition. My friend now lives in the USA, is married with two kids and our lives could not be more different. We still have that same connection we used to have, fortunately, and in our core are still the same people we were when we met on UCD campus in Dublin 26 years ago when I was there on an Erasmus year.


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