The past is never where you think you left it

The other day I was at McDonald eating my favorite salad when from the corner of my eyes I saw a glimpse of a familiar face.

When was the last time I saw her? Fifteen years ago?  She was a senior in high school, a residence of a small barrio community consisted of only 54 houses, all of them relatives, in the other side of the world. A world so far and so different from here.

Normally, whenever I saw a familiar face, I flee. Not this time. My experience with them left a lasting impression in my memory. It will remain the most wonderful 3 months vacation of my life.

I studied her for a while to be sure. How old she is now, Thirty? Thirty-one? Then I made a decision. On my way to the door I passed by the counter and called her name. From behind the cash register she looked up and momentarily  got confused upon seeing me. But only for a fraction of a second. She smiled broadly and said my full name. Nobody does that, calling me by my full name.

She grabbed a tray of order and came out to meet me. I kissed her on the cheek. Then came the dreaded moment when she asked where I live. I froze. Then I said nearby. She frowned and asked again. I can’t lie. So I named a village next to ours. A mere four kilometers walking distance from my place. She seemed happy with that.

A customer reminded her of their order and she walked away from me, reciting her address I purposely didn’t hear and will never store in my memory. I said I will be back, I know I won’t. I turned around and left feeling like a criminal.  

In the car, I was cursing myself to high heaven. Why I’m like that??? In FB while I have no reservation having a contact with acquaintances and total strangers I avoid those whom in the past I had shared wonderful times and memories, those I had intimate relationships with and were my best friends. Why?

Maybe because I want to preserve the memory, the way it used to be? Perhaps I don’t want to be disappointed, disillusioned when I find out that the person I had meet then is not the same person I am seeing now. I know nobody can’t escape the past, it’s got a funny way of catching up with you when you least expect it. But I know also that we can’t go back there either. The only constant in this world is changes, people evolved. Their feelings, wants, needs, dreams, expectations and priorities change as well. And that’s the problem.

I want to keep the past. Hang onto then. Cherish what it was and the feelings remain. I don’t want it altered or change. I want that I can go back to it in my mind when I need a safe place to go to, I need it to keep my faith in humanity alive, to keep believing there is still some goodness in this world.

The same with bad memories. They are reminders of my mistakes, lesson learned and poor judgments. I need them there to continue teach me a lesson so I will not do the same mistakes twice. I don’t want it redeemed or be given a second chance. Second chances are like open invitations to people who abused you to do it again.So I rather walk away and keep distance.

Driving home, I know I made the right decision.

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6 thoughts on “The past is never where you think you left it”

  1. Interesting distinction you make about hanging on to the past in your mind, rather than through a sitting around reliving the old times with a coffee with that person. I’m not sure I would deny myself the chance to have a more proper reunion with the person, but I am intrigued by your point. A few years ago I looked high and low for someone I used to be friends with. Not romantically, just someone at the time that I wondered what had happened to them. I eventually tracked them down and was extremely disappointed. They were polite and remembered me but right away I knew I should have just let it go.After the initial email exchange I never bothered again, and I know that was the right decision.

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    1. We all have our own personal beliefs, point of view, preferences and opinions based on our own experiences. I can’t speak for others of course. I don’t believe we can relive memories with the same person. Time does change everything.

      Liked by 1 person

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