It’s surprising how memories of my life before early last year, when my ex-girlfriend and I broke up, have slid away from me like a blanket I forgot I was covered with. The memories are still there, but it’s like they’ve been archived, tucked away, fading into memories of memories.
That must be how these things go, though I should know, having gone through a series of longer and, in many ways, comparable relationships. But, it appears it only strikes me now for the first time how essentially ephemeral past relationships are.
I’ve thrown my life on quite different tracks several times in the past, and, each time, little of that past remained after each switch, to the extent that past experiences turn into almost surreal memories of events that happened. Or did they?
In a way, these fundamental changes make for sad eulogies to lives not lived.
This time, I had the dubious honor of being on the receiving end of a breakup, which is of course a much tougher experience than being the perp. Interestingly, and on a side note, recent research suggests that men actually suffer more longer term consequences from breakups than women and need longer to ‘get over it’.
For me, it took a while.
I remember, after some six weeks on the road after leaving Uganda, I realized I was thinking of my ex-girlfriend more, not less. And I felt angry, but perhaps simply going through the stages of grief. Trying to analyze my anger, I realized it came from the feeling that I had kept trying to make the relationship work, whereas my ex seemed to have favored just cancelling the whole thing, resulting in an impression of there being a lack of will to try.
In fairness, this one-sided view is limiting. Who am I, to say that she did not actually try as much? Then again, all I have are my observations, and, as a consequence, my feelings.
That said, I am quite confident that, certainly towards the end of our relationship, my ex more often made decisions on her own, not involving me. Decisions that would affect both of us and our relationship. That should have been the writing on the wall I could have spotted earlier.
Yet, it seems to me that she seems to have always struggled to include ‘us’ in major decisions affecting her and, as a consequence, our, lives. (Mind you, this is something I find difficult, too.) Perhaps, simply, when things got somewhat tough, in stead of being able to work on fixing our relationship, she retreated into more comforting and familiar territory.
This implies that our relationship might always have had a small chance of surviving inter-personal hardships.
That realization made me calmer.
Around the same time, while on a bus to Foz the somewhat rudderless feeling I had been carrying around, was triggered by a kind of need to find myself.
I was looking back, really, as by that time I had left São Paulo after first meeting Natalia, falling in love and getting glimpses of, back in Sampa, feeling at home.
I didn’t commit immediately, wanting to take a step back and review whether my emotional attachment and comfort was transitory, a rebound if you will, or more profound, deeper. But, while sitting in that bus to Foz Do Iguaçu, I realised that Natalia’s bubbly, intelligent, passionate, dedicated, liberal, positive and driven frame of mind meant that I couldn’t wait to get back.