Remembrance of Things Past

I remember when I found out about chemistry
It was a long, long way from here
I was old enough to want it but
younger than I wanted to be
Suddenly my mission was clear

So for a while I conducted experiments
And I was amazed by the things I learned
From a fine fine girl with nothing but good intentions and
A bad tendency to get burned

Ever feel like you've just seen a ghost? Turned a little pale, grown a pit in your stomach, honed your nerves to a sharp edge?

Yeah. Me too. Like right now.

That ghost I just saw... is me.

I was poking through a box of old memories -- epherma. Stuff. From my past. And I picked up an envelope amidst the photos and clippings. A familiar envelope.

The minute I saw it, I knew what it was. And my blood instantly ran cold.

It was a letter from an old lover. A long, long, long time ago lover.

The one who got under my skin. The one with whom I parted amidst tears and torment. The one I've never quite forgotten. Ever.

I'm totally thrown. Completely.

Poof. There's my past. My youth. My foibles. My heart. Slit and spread wide open.

I just made the same mistake I've made countless times before -- I opened the damn thing up. And the memories came flooding back, washing over my spirit like a summer storm full of thunder and lightning and kinetic energy. The torrents were painful in their piercing intensity as the drops rat-a-tat hit my tender skin. Yet refreshing in their coolness as they made their way to nourish the dry patches in my soul. As they always do.

So much has changed. So little has changed.

Fuck. How I hate that.

All about chemistry
Won't you show me everything you know
Ah wonder what you do to me
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh

We met cute. And the chemistry, as they say, was instantaneous and palpable. I was pursued, wooed, and yes, screwed. Fantastically. Intimately. Thoroughly.

He was brilliant -- talented with a quick wit and an even quicker tongue. I was the Bright Young Thing with a flirty nature and curious mind. He called me precocious. I reveled in that.

I've always been attracted to creative types -- I love their passion, their quirkiness and their intelligence. It energizes me somehow. It's not unusual for such characteristics to come packaged with other more challenging traits -- things like melancholy, mercurialness, tempestuousness. And those particulars were, more often than not, the Achilles heel of a relationship for me.

Some time later I met a young graduate
When I had nobody to call my own
I told her I was looking for somebody to appreciate
And I just couldn't do it alone

So for a while we conducted experiments
In an apartment by the River Road
And we found out that the two things we put together
had a bad tendency to explode

I've been in love -- really in love -- four times in my life. This was one of those times.

No one has ever loved me quite like he did. No one has ever hurt me as badly as he did.

All part of the experience. Came with the territory.

He knew me. Not just the superficial side of me that I chose to show to the world, to acquaintances and friends alike. The deepest part of me. What made me tick. What made me laugh. What fueled me.

With a glance, a touch, a whisper -- we were connected. I'm flushed now, just at the very thought of him.

When it was good, it was completely transcendent.

When it was bad, it was utterly debilitating.

All about chemistry
Won't you show me everything you've learned
I'll memorize everything you do to me so I can
Teach it when it comes my turn

It didn't last long, this bolus dose of overwhelming emotion nestled in the core of a relationship. It was too intense to do anything but to burn hot and flame out. It dissipated in a blaze of glory... fiery shards, angry words, misunderstandings and the inevitable collateral damage. Time and distance and temperament were the weapons of mass destruction. Not surprisingly, we made discord as passionately as we made love.

I was left wounded and weeping and weary. But wiser.

As we parted, finally, he sent me a letter. Pointed yet tender. Moody. With sentiments no one had ever shared with me before. Things never shared since, either. It's both a treasure and a curse. And yet I still keep it, buried away, with no X marking the spot. But I know it's there.

This man was different than anyone else I've ever been involved with. Maybe that's why there's residue from our time together still on my soul. His voice still deep inside my head. His fingerprints still on my heart.

I'd be lying if I said that even after all this time, I didn't miss him. Because I do. Sometimes I have flashes of memories that overwhelm me -- so much that I have to stop and sob them out.

But it was a long time ago. And I was young. Impetuous. I've changed so much since then -- but honestly I wouldn't be the person I am today without having had this man in my life. And while I am at peace and at home with my fate the way it played out, I wonder what might have been... if...

Even now when I have come so far
I wonder where you are
I wonder why it's still so hard without you
Even now when I come shining through
I swear I think of you
And how I wish you knew
Even now

This one's for you...


TopSurf said...

Wow. Just Wow. Powerful words right there in that post. Written as beautifully as only you could do it. Powerful post.

BJ Blinston said...

Well written and I feel for you as well. I know what it's like to lose a love so deep.

PQ said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing.

I felt it deep in my soul.

Miss Attitude said...

Great post! Who hasn't been there? Well except I destroyed all the evidence..

And this makes me think it just may be your time for Meet the Exes Monday. I've been working up the nerve to ask you to guest post.. let me know what you think!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I think we all have one of those in our past.

You've really captured the essence of it all, though.

Bravo on beautiful writing and huge hugs on the experience.

Sherrie said...

That was genuinely beautiful, even in the pain and longing that it so clearly expressed. Thank you for sharing it here, you are a gifted writer.

Web-Betty said...

Powerful and moving. And funny how so many of us can relate. Coincidence?

perpstu said...

This is so beautiful Jane. I think we all have that guy buried somewhere in our past. I know I do. Just the thought of him makes my stomach clench and I'm never sure if it's fear or excitement that makes it so.