I remember writing a short story once about how I spent an entire train journey quietly wigging out because I thought I saw my ex-boyfriend’s brother on the other side of the carriage.
A cavalcade of memories trampled through my head, against my will. I stared and stared at the back of his head and came closer to crying with every passing minute.
Then, of course, he got off the train at Ealing Broadway and it wasn’t him at all. Same lanky frame and lolloping gait – entirely different man. I became irrationally angry that a total stranger had elicited such a personal response, taken from me something that was mine. At that time, I was a very angry, unhappy girl.
I was reminded of this when I saw a name from the swamp of the distant past come up recently. Innocuous now but still loaded – like kids accidentally stumbling upon wartime bombs in the woods. That’s OK, though. I’m not angry any more. I feel fond and lucky, not bitter. I can afford to be generous-spirited these days, and for that I am grateful.
I generally believe everything Leonard Cohen says, but he once claimed that ‘true love leaves no traces’. I disagree. I’m with Joni on this one: love is touching souls. If you can feel that, even a tiny bit, then I think you’ve won. It was worth it.