I hadn’t thought of you in so long.
I was just walking the other day and the smell of jasmine hit me. It reminded me of the time you surprised me with two plants, after I told you in passing how much I missed them when I moved to New York.
When the memory was triggered, it unleashed a wave of history and emotions that halted me. I stood silent and motionless as your deluge surrounded me and swept me up with the current. Your memory was tidal.
Everything about us poured its way through my veins, my nerves, my skin:
The way you paused mid-conversation when I walked into the room the day we met.
How you got upset and made me feel so small the time I couldn’t get you and a friend into that show.
Our first kiss after meeting for drinks and talking all night. Just as we said goodbye in the subway. Wow, the butterflies.
When we stayed in an entire weekend barely making it out of the bedroom for food.
How you stopped inviting me over after our less-and-less frequent dates.
You finally breaking up with me after seeing it coming for so long.
Then our meetup in the park just “to catch up” while you were thinking of dumping your then-girlfriend.
How I broke up with you the second time.
There were dozens more that came back to me, equally good with bad.
Did I miss you?
I loved being on your arm, our way of finding new places, all the wild experiences I’d never had known in the city without you.
Then I remembered when you told me how I finally won you over. It was me “checking in randomly” after you left the company. Always with the little hint of flirtation but not overtly so. And how they always seemed to be timed with when you were questioning your lovelife.
I wondered if it would be wrong to check-in again. Now. Now that we hadn’t talked in so long. That I knew you had moved away and we were both married.
I came home and decided to at least see how you were doing. Hoping for the best. Really. I knew we didn’t particularly end well and our times together were marked with rough waters, maybe even more than not. But, I still wished you were well.
I was surprised when I typed your name in and nothing immediately popped up, like it does when looking for your friends. But then, I found you, clicked your page and I noticed you unfriended me.
Wow. What’s the opposite of butterflies?
I felt hollow in my chest, but my head convinced me it made sense. At least I wasn’t blocked, I thought. But no, I would not be checking in this time. I thought back on recent life events from my feed that might not be welcome to the eyes of exes. It was silly really to think that we even stayed “friends” for that long. Especially after you made it clear we should probably not chat or message for a while.
I got that. We didn’t work. The first time we were together I was just so into you and wanted you to love me. The second time you loved me more and I was the more hesitant. It may have been you who broke up with me the first time, but I was the one who broke it off for good.
Seeing an ex always seems to remind me of my failure, despite it maybe being neither of our faults. Youth, timing, different expectations, lack of communicating what I want, or even knowing what it is I do want. But I tend to not see that. I just feel the pain of old wounds. The scars may have healed but the hurt I still know. And the time it took to forget.
I can still smell the jasmine.
I was amazed you had plants shipped across the country just for me. I hadn’t expected the jasmine to survive the New York winter, let alone blossom in the window. It saddens me to think of how quick I was to toss them when I moved away to start my new life.
I was happy you bought me two. Even though they might not have been where they should be to grow under usual circumstances, at least they had each other. However fleeting their time in the sun was.
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