If you go digging in a graveyard, you’re bound to unearth a skeleton or two. That was what came to mind last night as I lay in bed staring at the ceiling trying to turn off the images in my mind that have gnawed away at me ever since I insisted on hearing the details of M’s past relationships.
“Why do you want to know?” he asked me. “I need to know,” I insisted. But did I?
Regardless of whether or not I did, much to my eventual dismay, he willingly complied, and much to his, in true girl fashion, I proceeded to get teary-eyed and poorly feign indifference.
“Nan, what’s wrong?” he asked, as though he didn’t already have an idea as to why I’d become so quiet. “Nothing,” I lied in a tone barely louder than a whisper, “I’m fine.” That was it. The charade was over. And I wondered how many arguments have begun with those same seemingly affirmative words.
It was the beginning of a long night and three long days after in which I tried everything imaginable to avoid picturing my boyfriend gallivanting about with the women of his past. Like an insufferable and unending melodramatic soap opera which I could not turn off in my mind, I witnessed again and again far too many compromising situations -- and in the end all that was compromised was my newfound happiness. Sadly, I had brought it upon myself. M had given me what I wanted against his better judgment and I had successfully turned it around on him, and for three days all we did was tear up one another’s pasts until we were both so weary of it that it seemed like there was nothing left to say.
And it got me thinking… Why do we feel the need to dig around in the pasts of those we love when we know that in the end, all we’ll get is dirty? Why do we find it so difficult to allow ourselves to be happy in the moment or feel the need to cultivate evidence to justify our deepest fears? (We only end up blaming ourselves for overlooking them down the line should they come to pass.) We insist on playing Russian Roulette with our hearts and ultimately kill our joy. Why can't we get past our own childish curiosity when we know the details will only drag us down? In essence, why are we so often unable to let the past be past us?
Fortunately, M and I soon tired from our inquisitions and agreed to put this all behind us – where it rightfully belonged. As I lay in his arms and listened to him breathe, I realized that it did not matter who he’d held before. All that mattered was here and now. The rest was history. It always had been. The only way it would affect the present or the future would be if we let it. Now I acknowledged that and decided against it. And my joy returned.