Saturday, 3 September 2011

Apple Season (and ex-boyfriends)

[photo via MeshuMaSH]

It's apple season. Back when we lived on Cricket Road in Oxford Toph and I had an apple tree in the backyard that produced a profusion of Braeburns. They're still the only kind of apples I like to eat, and I really gorged on them while in the UK.

Two weeks ago, when I was walking down St. Giles, with Taylors & the corner of Little Clarendon Street just coming into view, I kept feeling like I could almost see Richard rounding the corner on his bike, standing on the pedals, leaning over the handle-bars. As I write this, I remember cycling down St. Giles with him, hand in hand. That's what it's like now: he's always the flitting image in the corner of my eye, and never really too far from my mind. In London on the tube and at Heathrow several times I thought I saw him, but these instances are just a mixture of hope and hopelessness and someone with a similar build or colour of hair.

I've been surveying people a little about whether they keep in touch with their exes. Some do, others don't - or almost never. I'd like to, really, except in exceptional circumstances - lies, deliberate injury. These days most my relationships end with me having taken away more good than bad, and when that is the case I could never really cut someone out of my life if I tried. I would hear them on the tip of my tongue, feel them taking over some small gesture or the way I use a turn of phrase. Many words have their origin in them, as do ideas - and so many memories. I like to be reminded of the people who make up me. I like to feel bursts of affection for them when I discover and rediscover parts of myself that would not have been otherwise. Most of all I'd like to write and speak to them, to continue to play a role in their lives, and vice versa. I once feared that I may have lost Topher for good, but I'm overjoyed and grateful that we remain friends. To have him still in my life, even just to speak to on Skype, is like holding on to something solid, some small but paramount measure of certainty. I am thus blessed.

Since Richard and I broke up last year we've not been on very good terms. There've been several attempts at re-establishing communication, to varying degrees of success - some perhaps more productive than others, but none with permanent results. I see on my Google calendar that his birthday is coming up, and a part of me would very much like to wish him well (tho every part of me does that, every day), but I'm not sure that it would be good for either of us.

One part of me thinks that one day, when we mean nothing to each other any more, we might by chance become friendly again. Perhaps by then we wouldn't even care if we spoke to one another, or lived on the same street. The greater part of me, however, doesn't want him ever to mean nothing to me. Yet for the moment, I can only remind myself to do what I think is right rather than what I want to do. It seems to me that what is right at the moment is to simply wait. When things stop hurting, he'll know where to find me if he wants to. Until then, I can only vent my feelings on my blog, pray fervently that our friendship will survive, and keep spying him when memory overlaps reality in the corner of my eye.