This last month has been a record breaking one for reuniting with people from my past. After four (!) people reappeared in my life (two on the same day), I thought seriously for a moment that it was so twilight zone bizarre, it either meant I was fated to die, Final Destination style, or the world was going to end.
Reconnecting with your past is never an easy thing.
What happens is that one day you check your email and there they are: long lost relatives, ex boyfriends, lovers, school friends and that one guy whose name you forgot, the one you backpacked with that summer. The one that abandoned you for that Scandinavian girl with the fake tan. Your past appears personified and unannounced, wiping its feet on your (virtual) doorstep.
‘How are you?’ you ask, taken up with the giddiness of it all. You invite the past in, swap stories, saying how nice you look and wow, you haven’t aged one bit!
Catching up is initially pleasant, full of surprises and heart warming reminisces. You throw another log onto the fireplace and wonder why you didn’t get in touch sooner
But then it happens. They eventually say something torpid; or most likely you do. Awkward silence fills the space where words use to be. And you realise how stupid and silly you were to think it would be any different this time around.
You have nothing or little in common. Probably the reason you no longer speak. But how to get around the uncomfortable feeling that time has grown like moss under your feet? How long do you smile politely until they start to irk you? How much time do you spend nodding and asking inane questions before you are face to face with a connection (like a dead parrot) that is no longer?
If you are unlucky, bitterness ensues. It is your fault, they sulk. You were never happy to see me in the first place. If you cared you would have stayed in touch.
Maybe. The truth is I AM terrible at connections. My first novel is all about them, based on a time when I was good at being a hub with arms and legs and nodes coming off me like tentacles. Now I can’t wait to rip the bloody things off.
You and your ex-loved ones sit on opposite ends of the couch, miserable and feeling like failures. What initially felt so right, has now been tarnished with the memory of how it was, instead of how it should have been. But you’ve already gone through the motions, no use talking about what you could have said or done differently. You are destined to repeat the same mistakes over and over again because, underneath it all, you are still the same people.
You walk them to the door. Come back and see me soon, you say, not meaning it. European double kisses, hugs and promises to stay in touch, and then they are gone.
Count yourself lucky if they turn around and wave goodbye.