It was strange that I ended up in your old neighbourhood tonight – when just earlier today my flatmate mentioned you – saying ‘you dated a <redacted south american nationality>, didn’t you?’ and I actually had to give pause for a moment and think.
I had literally almost forgotten.
Oh him! I exclaimed… oh yeah……
The slight melancholy that accompanies the realisation that you’ve somehow mentally erased a past lover is unexpected – for the first in my life (and inevitably not the last) I thought ‘so this is what its like to get old’. Memories, part-formative part-past adventure disappear for moments only to be rediscovered, dusted off and put on that mental storage area of ‘a long time ago’ until the next time you have need of them. Your brain gets cluttered – and the unimportant is thrown away.
I remembered you well enough tonight walking through Elephant & Castle – you weren’t a great love, a long love or an important love, but you weren’t worth forgetting. So it wasn’t with poignancy I looked back, but a deep-seated desire to restore my personal narrative.
You no longer live in the neighbourhood but I glanced, just once, in the direction of your old flat and remember being led there for the first time as the sun came up years ago. How much seemed possible with spring and sunshine. You often criticized my Spanish a bit too much and it annoyed me, you would sing me mariachi songs in the morning in a charmingly tuneless way. We ate tripe soup at a Colombian restaurant when our mission to get dim sum failed.
It was not sentiment – but a reclamation of my past. I forgot who you were – only for a moment, and therefore I felt I knew myself just a little less well. But with a furtive glance across an ugly roundabout – I remembered you, and then I remembered me.