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From the Blog: The Picture on the Wall

24 Nov 2005

I was watching one of my favourite flicks the other day, Love Jones (1997 by Theodore Witcher), and in one of the scenes, Darius invites Nina over to his place for the first time. In a rather funny moment, Darius quickly flips down a picture of his ex-flame Felicia which he had on his desk.

I could relate. I've done that a few times myself.

My picture on my wall is that of an old flame from university. My first love. We had great years together but real life after university, respective goals in different countries and other stuff ended our story. It was a clean break and we haven't seen or spoken to each other in many years now. There were no hard feelings, just an understanding that life took us to different paths and we have been at peace with that reality ever since.

I must admit that for a few years after our parting of ways, she remained a ghost that every other woman I met needed to measure up to. Looking back, I realize that it was unfair burden I placed on a few of those potential relationships.

That picture on the wall didn't sit well. As much as I rationalized it by saying that it was only one picture among dozens of other pictures surrounding it on that same wall, pictures from high school, trips abroad, family and such, that "one" picture always got me in trouble.

"Why was it still there?" I kept being asked.

So I found myself taking it down every time I had a date over to my place. One date, about a year and a half ago, noticed the empty spot on the wall among the display of pictures and point-blank asked me: "Did you take a picture down because you knew I was coming today?"

I was shocked. I told her there was indeed a picture there but it had fallen down earlier in the week and the glass broke. I still don't know whether or not she bought that lie. In any event, it was our first and last date. So I guess she didn't.

Recently, the picture on the wall was again the topic of conversation with someone I had hoped could take the place of that old picture on the wall.

"I challenge you to take it down" she said.

I immediately told her that I didn''t have a problem with that. That picture represents more of a memory of lost love which I yearn to find again than really about any remaining hope to get back with that old flame. Because, truly and honestly, I have no wish to. The jury is still out as to whether or not she bought that.

I think Divine Brown captured my state of mind the best in her song Old School Love. "I don't want you back. But I'll never love the same way again."

But I'm still not such a pessimist. I have faith that the picture on the wall will be replaced. I have no doubt about that.

But thinking about that "challenge to take it down" since, I came to realize that the picture always came down, and went back into a filing box, whenever I entered into a new relationship. Then, somehow, it would find its place again on the wall in-between relationships ... until the next one.

My question now is ... should I leave the picture on the wall up until I find another picture to replace it with? Or should I leave the empty space there until it gets filled again? Based on my past experiences, I think the last option is probably best.

No one can, or wants to, compete with a ghost.

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