A How To on Forgiving But Not Forgetting
Darius and I were giggling teenagers. He’d say no-you-hang-up-first and I’d keep him on the line. We had those hold-on-I-gotta-pee conversations and we were drowning in a “relationship” we never thought would leave the phone. I remember many mornings, waking up with the receiver to my ear, hearing him snore on the other end of the line. I’d spend the whole day at school incessantly rewriting his name in my notebooks and rush home to call him once again. We were free-long-distance inseparable.
I met Darius on a trip to the Caribbean with my parents. After a whole day on the hotel’s beach and a bunch of virgin daiquiris, we exchanged numbers because he was leaving the next day. Darius was from California and I was from New York, at fifteen this felt like a million miles away. We promised that we’d see each other again, but knew somewhere deep down that our phone-fling would be over and we’d forget about each other. We were wrong. We kept talking until the sunlight up until our seventeenth year of life.
He came to New York for a high school summer internship. We exchanged texts his whole way to NYC and I was ecstatic because I was going to meet up with him after his first day of work. His last text resounded something like this:
“I can’t believe we’re in the same city. I can’t wait to see you.”
This was the start of June. I didn’t hear from Darius until August. I tried to call him several times, but he was nowhere to be found. The phone vibrated in my hand, “Hey. Let’s hang. I miss you.”
To make a long story short, we met up and had Italian ices in the park. He explained that the girls at his internship were so fine and interesting and he’d kind of forgotten about me after his first day here. He punched me in my arm after telling his story, “You know how it is right? We’re homies.”
I was utterly confused. The week before he’d come to New York, I was absolutely sure that he and I were an item. I guess I was wrong. I left Darius in that park and never answered a call/or text from him again.
A few days ago, after seven years, I received a Facebook friendship request from Darius. I was immediately excited and eager to accept, to see what he’d been up to. After catching up in a few messages, Darius’ old self started to appear:
Darius: So you got a man huh? Nice. I should’ve totally been your man.
Me: Um, right…So, how’s your career?
Darius: Why are you avoiding it? I could have been your man, I’m sorry about what happened between us, but I had options then. I had to live. Feel me?
Instantly, everything came flooding back to me. I’d been so interested in seeing the progression of an old face that I’d forgotten about the sting of our demise. I immediately ran to my friends list and removed Darius. I didn’t want his drama in my life and judging by his commentary he hadn’t matured at all.
The phrase “forgive but don’t forget” is deemed cliché, but it possesses a truth we’ve certainly forgotten. In an age where we are so easily accessible through social networking, women are constantly confronted with the reliving of their past.
If I add him, does it say to the world that I’m over it?
If I don’t will he think I’m immature?
Do I care what he thinks?
Is a grudge worth it?
Does not wanting someone from a closed chapter in my current story a grudge?
Or is it growth?
After my Darius dilemma, I overheard two co-workers discussing these questions. It seems as if many women are fighting the urge to accept, afraid they might be caught up in the rapture or they’ll regret it.
I don’t think the notion of Facebook acceptance is the issue here. I think remembrance is. When your past comes to call, think about it. Sit for a moment, before checking for his new girl, his current city and the weight he’s put on. Let the memories flood you and ask yourself, “Is this someone I want in my life again?”
A lot of people don’t take the Internet seriously.
“So? The trial is over. We’re Facebook friends now. It’s all good.”
“That fight that me and his baby mother had was years ago, we’re cool, he just liked my status. See. Look.”
Let’s suppose he’s not the “like button” type. In fact, let’s pretend he’s the wait-till-you’re-online-to-press-chat type. What then? What happens when his reflections start to trigger your adrenaline and rip open the wound you thought you’d left behind?
My situation wasn’t that serious. Darius was a fool and I was glad we didn’t get more involved than we were. However, to the women who are pondering bringing that old thing back into their circle, remember:
A finished chapter is almost only reread for reference or re-experiencing enjoyment. Unless you need to reflect to keep yourself from making the same mistakes or resurrect a flicker of a relationship gone awry, there’s really no reason to go back.
If you do, I plead with you to remember. There is nothing more awkward than finding yourself reliving your blunders. I’m just saying.
“RivaFlowz” is a teacher and professional writer living in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter: @rivaflowz.
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