When Memories of Former Lovers Resurface


Our bodies remember the traumas we dare not speak.

A week before my ninth birthday, my dad moved out, and my parents announced they were getting a divorce. Nearly two weeks before I turned twenty, I decided to end a healthy relationship with someone I wasn’t connected to intellectually. One week before my twenty-second birthday, the first person I trusted fully and loved deeply walked away from our relationship — this shattered my spirit in ways I didn’t know was possible. Two weeks after I turned twenty-four, one of the most intimate platonic friendships I had ended. We’ve since reconnected but…

My body remembers the history of unexpected endings every November.

She braces herself for premature goodbyes and a rush of intense memories she would rather forget. Not because the memories are too painful to revisit but because they remind her of a significant, interrupted soul connection.

Breakups are difficult.

I’ve been through three romantic endings in my life, but only one crushed my spirit. It was the person that would become my “first love,” and the relationship I still reflect on nearly eight years later. Sometimes I wonder how he’s doing. Sometimes I wonder how different we probably are now, but other times — well, I just miss his energy.

More than anything, I think I miss the intimacy and the artistic connection we once shared. Because I still think about him so many years later, I decided to write a poem in hopes that releasing it will allow me to release his hold on my memories.

Missing Memories

Sometimes it’s difficult to keep the past in its place / And I’m a bit of an insomniac so often I stay up late / And some nights / I / Mix together letters that form monikers of lovers I’m no longer connected to / Just to catch a current glimpse at their intellectual development/ And currently your musings are reminiscent of the revolutionary spirit I inherited / And in these moments I wish we were relatives or close friends that could get lost in sociopolitical discussions / Exchange writings like we used to, read radical texts together, dissect, and just connect / Instead of exes disconnected by the pretext of an antiquated economic institution / I was never really interested in pursuing / So now I’m seven years out still periodically considering your whereabouts / Wondering how you’ve been / Wondering if you ever regretted our final conversations / Or if I was a necessary loss that simply got lost in your quest to maintain a burgeoning relationship / But whatever the motivation, the callousness lingers, and it appears to be transferrable so I continue to meet hordes of inconsiderate people / And again I wish I could keep the past in its place because periodically mulling over past times can be painful / And I’m not really into self-inflicted injury / I’ve been in two committed relationships since the last time we spoke and tried to get to know quite a few people in between but it seems the true intimacy we once shared continues to evade my reach these days / And to be honest, I’m tired of reaching / Tired of trying to cultivate close relationships in an era where superficiality, meaningless sex, and guardedness reign supreme / Tired of meeting new people with the same archaic, apolitical points of view / Tired of missing memories and rituals we shared so long ago / Remember / Forehead, eyelids, cheeks then lips type of kisses we shared before we parted ways? / Damn that shit feels like way, way back in the day / But what do I do when what was reappears in my dreams so vividly? / I wake up feeling guilty when my subconscious self thinks of you / And I feel inauthentic if I force myself not to / And don’t even get me started on how foolish I feel knowing someone else has your heart but you still have an emotional hold on me / I used to think about the next time we’d meet again / Quite frequently / To the point I had to relinquish my imagination for a second / Just so I could sit in the discomfort of what happened and accept it / Then a few years back, I thought I saw you from afar in Charlotte / I wanted to speak so desperately but I couldn’t bear the thought of being just a distant memory / When you meant so damn much to me / So / I didn’t chance it / I decided if there’s any chance for us to ever enter a radical friendship you would have to extend it / On occasion I waver and consider reaching out to you / It’s like I know if we were relatives or even close friends we could get lost in sociopolitical discussions again / Exchange writings like we used to / Read radical texts together, dissect, and just connect / Instead of exes / Disconnected by the pretext of an antiquated economic institution I was never really interested in pursuing / But then again / I could never exchange an experience that allowed me to explore the transformative power of vulnerability / I guess I’ll just have to get used to periodically missing memories we shared so long ago

In memory of a love lost in history.