Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cleaning house

At what point after a relationship is over should you delete voice mails, e-mails and text messages? That very night? A week later? Maybe a month so it isn't as painful to revisit those taunting electronic time capsules?

Is a year and a half too long? hmmm... probably.

In my defense, however, the voice mails and texts are LONG gone, and I didn't realize the e-mails were still in there until two days ago when I accidentally clicked on the "view by sender" link. Then KABOOM. There they all were. Nothing can ruin your mood better that a trip down memory lane. Especially if yours, like mine is riddled with Fire Spurts, Lightning Sand, and man-eating R.O.U.S.s.

So I opened the first message ... then another and another ... then burst out laughing. A one line silly sentence about someone at work, a quick "I've been swamped, I miss you, I'll call you later," a note asking for someone's address ... stupid stupid little nothings I had stored up that could not possibly hold any sentimental value. And yet they did. I guess when you love someone any indication that they are thinking about you is priceless.

Oh boy, did I love him. I loved him for years before I ever did anything about it. We were always seeing other people, and he was one of my best friends. I used to think having him in my life at all was enough. He is so smart, talented, funny and oh so handsome. He has the most brilliant smile and perfect jawline I have ever seen on a man.

Only after he took a job across the country and was back for a visit did I find that incredible amount of courage it takes to lift your head up and go for the kiss. I had six months of pure happiness. We each made trips to see each other, talked on the phone regularly ... I thought about moving and he always promised he'd come back.

But it all started to fade. Long distance is so hard. You are never physically there for each other. Life gets in the way of those regular calls, and e-mails get cold and distant. I thought if we just cooled it, we could pick up when he finally moved back. I told him, and then preceded to unintentionally wait ... pining like a lovesick school girl. With pig-tails.

A couple months ago he called ... he was moving back, just like he said he would. But not for me. When we spoke, it was awkward, and when I confessed my lingering affections I got no response. And yet I wasn't as upset as I thought I would be. The person I was talking to was not the one I had loved. Maybe when you put someone up high on a pedestal you no longer see THEM clearly, just your idea of them.

And, so I have finally "cleaned house." With each deleted e-mail I recovered a small piece of my dignity. What an idiot I was. How pathetic to hold out that hope, and how unfair to him to not have been honest with what I was feeling when I had him, then to throw it out there after it was long over.

I have emerged from my stroll on memory lane, averting the Fire Spurts, sidestepping the Lightning Sand and impaling the R.O.U.S.s only to be bonked on the head by the "Six-Fingered Man."


Macgyver said...

I usually tattoo my ex's emails all over my body. Is that bad??

Sten said...

No, I think it's nice that girls get detailed warnings of what a jerk you are when they bed you ;).

Anonymous said...

What about naked pictures? Are those game to keep?

Sten said...

Hahaha .. naked pics of you, or the person? I guess it all depends on what you do with them.

Anonymous said...

ah yes, the "view by sender"... the tiny little button with the power to blindside you with pangs of nostalgia and sorrow and loss.

oh how i rue the "view by sender".

what's worse is the "view by recipient" in the "sent" box. crack open one of those after a year-and-a-half... you'll barely recognize your own writing. you'll wonder, "did i really write this junk?? all this cutesy nonsense? this lame mess of coy affection and obscure double-entendres and cheeky flirtation??"

or maybe that's just me. i can be quite obscure at times. and very lame.

oh how i rue the "view by recipient".

Chrissie said...

i say rid yourself of the naked pictures! the last thing you need is your new significant other to find them...

and i agree that whether i'm reading emails written to me or those i've haphazardly sent to others, i'm usually equally disgusted and saddened.

disgusted with my "cute" side. and sad a the idea that love can take a downturn so unexpectedly.