It's a sad day for all when Reading Week ends and your nose is back on that grindstone. Around a million work deadlines have crept up on you, people are getting stressed, and the weather is getting colder. It's times like these that you start to over-think, which is exactly what I've been doing...
Last week, I went home to see my parents in the happening metropolis that is Surrey. While I was down there, I met up with an older friend for a coffee and a catch up, who dropped - what I would call - a pretty big bombshell: she was splitting up from her husband. After nearly soaking her in second-hand coffee, she explained that she still - after two years of marriage - wasn't over her ex, and had finally admitted the truth of this to both herself and her (soon-to-be-ex)husband last night. Being an avid watcher of soaps and poorly scripted 'reality' TV, I was imagining a dramatic infidelity scene - complete with shocked gasps and theatrical sobbing - but this was soon quashed when she informed me that "it was all mental". Well hold the phone, shit just got real. Was 'mental infidelity' - if one can call it that - enough to end a marriage? It was a conversation well-timed.
You might have caught my post 'The Ex Factor', in which I talked about the 'debris' left behind when a relationship ends. Well, last week, I did something that my friends have been telling me to do since the start of the year: I deleted my ex from everything I could think of - Facebook, Skype, email, phone, photos on my wall - if it could be done, I did it. For the record, I do not believe in this method. When a relationship ends, I prefer to try and be an adult and rescue some kind of friendship from the wreckage (yes, it is hard. no, it does not always work). Anyway, for the purpose of this blog (and for a bit of fun), let's call this ex Jacob. Jacob and I were best friends. (Yes, you may well say that 'bad decisions' are my middle name.) We had six great years of friendship, spanning the most memorable years of our teenage lives, before we decided to take the plunge and give it a shot. It didn't work out. So why, I hear you ask, did it take this long to act? Well, if I'm honest, I thought it would remove the visual queues that lead to remembering him - always a dangerous habit if you're in a new relationship. This weekend, I went to visit my boyfriend at a place that I used to hang out with Jacob back when we were friends. It was here that I realised something that I already suspected: you can delete a guy from Facebook, but you can't delete memories (unless you develop amnesia, or you are reading this in the future where they have actually invented that Men in Black pen). So herein lies my dilemma: is it 'mental infidelity' to remember someone? What if those memories are regular? What if they trigger both feelings of loss and of nostalgia? Is it only 'mental disloyalty' if you harbour romantic feelings towards someone? Why did my 'closing of the door', after I'd already walked through and turned the corner, make me freak out?
Today I talked to my friend about it, in the hope that he might shed some light on the subject. His answer to my questions was that "nothing is forever in the greater scheme of things." He would make one hell of a Buddhist. Unfortunately his wise words did not give me much respite, but in a roundabout way they did make me answer my own question. I think the thing we are all scared of is losing touch. Whether that be with family, friends, ex-boyfriends (perhaps debatable on this). It's the fear of not only closing a door, but losing the key that will open it again if times, situations, or we as people change. Because what if it is forever? Although I love the song, I don't like to talk about anyone as "somebody that I used to know". I don't want my memories to be tainted by the sourness that comes with 'deleting' someone - or 'being deleted'. So, perhaps instead of closing the door, we should always leave it ajar; take some space, but don't burn those bridges unless you've got a boat. And if this means living with the ghosts of an old friendship for a while, so be it. Call it 'mental infidelity' if you wish, but I'd rather remember regularly and with love, than be a bitter old bitch. Life is short, after all.
Do you agree?