When he asked me if the fact that he had exes bothered me, I stared at him with a surprised look. We were not at that stage of our relationship for him to ask such a personal, intimate question. But being the straight-forward girl I always am, I smiled, leaning my head against his shoulder and whispered the words that at that time I thought were understanding, open-minded, and funny: “No, it doesn’t. Before I met you, I had a life too and you don’t know everything about it, yet. Why would I be concerned if you had exes? You’re a grown-up man. I would be concerned if you did not have any exes.”
He laughed, and that was the last sound I heard from him.
I didn’t know what happened. Maybe he was bothered by my life before I met him, a life that might be filled with mistakes, regrets, wrong decisions, and notorious stories. Maybe he was bothered by his own life before he met me, a life that was filled with mistakes, regrets, wrong decisions and notorious stories. Maybe when he said “had exes” he meant “kept in touch with my exes” and he had gotten back to one of them. Maybe we were never a couple. After all, even I had to admit it was just a little more than a friendship with some physical aspects thrown in and some elements of sharing gone missing. Maybe it was even something totally unrelated.
But why did he ask me that question? Why?
Everyone has secrets. Everyone has stories that they cannot share. Everyone has their own past. A past is an anchor that keeps a person sane and gives his life a meaning. A past is one’s privilege, an exclusive treasure to embrace all memories and emotions. A past, after all, is an untouchable private property. Is it wrong to respect another person’s past and leave it there? Your past is yours to keep and yours to share.
And I hope you will treat me and my past the same way, whoever you are, darling. I hope you will not get jealous of or disgusted by it. One day, I’m sure, you will become a memory to me, a person in my past and I in yours. I hope you will treasure me at that time as much as you treasure your past now. Because I promise I will do so to you.