When relationships change course, we all cope in various ways. Some try to eliminate the person from their life entirely. If photographs are deleted, letters are discarded, or digital connections are burned, then maybe this individual no longer exists in your orbit. And maybe that’s necessary in order to continue onward. Perhaps it’s the only means to navigate through the pain.
Personally, I was never able to embody that approach. I’m emotional, I attach easily, and I often view relationships through a nostalgic lens. Even if an ending makes sense and feels appropriate, I don’t try to forget. I’m not determined to erase memories from my mind, as if they never occurred. I hold onto the pieces and keep them, even if it’s locked away in a box, far removed from what once was.
I move on, I seek closure, but I remember. I acknowledge the bittersweet taste that’s left in my mouth. I can still recall and miss the little things.
The quirky banter that made me laugh endlessly; the subtleties and intricacies in mannerisms; the way the contour lines on his face formed a slight smile; the music and lyrics that were shared; the songs that were sung in public places when we were silly and carefree; random anecdotes from childhood; how his eyebrows moved in playful fashion when we finally spotted each other within the crowd; how his voice changed its tone when relaying excitement or sadness or depth; his hands on top of mine in the backseat of the car; the deliciously-scented cologne that I willingly breathed in; the simple truths that circulated between us.
If you’ve never seen Before Sunset, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, I highly recommend the film. Set in Paris, the narrative revolves around a couple who fostered an incredible connection in one night, nine years ago, when they met on a train to Vienna. (That story is beautifully showcased in the first film, Before Sunrise.) Before Sunset features the two characters meeting again after time passed, life happened, and things changed.
One of my favorite scenes depicts the very notion that maybe we do miss the little things. We remember them and it’s okay.
It’s okay to remember.