Among my other activities in a University computer lab this past weekend, I had the chance to finally bring a 9mm DAT tape together with a DAT drive to retrieve a cache of backed up files from my early days as a graduate student. Among these files (as expected) were class programming projects from my first two years of graduate school, along with the digital version of my Master's Thesis. One of the more unexpected items that turned up in this collection, however, was a backup of some old e-mail. Among them were most of the messages sent to me by ex-girlfriend K.
I've mentioned ex-girlfriend K. before here. For those coming in late, I was spellbound with her physical beauty and her flirtatious wit. It was a relatively short association that ended very badly when I discovered that she lied about not being married (she was separated).
Reading over those messages evoked several different kinds of feelings in me, most of them conflicted. First and foremost, I hadn't read these messages in about 7-8 years and time had softened some of my memories of the situation. In that time I had come to the conclusion that there was an overt sign early in our relationship, some hint in what she told me, that alluded to the fact that she was really married and I missed it. Though these e-mails by no means form a complete record of what happened, the language of her messages to me show no such hint. In fact, she gave many signs of being as attracted to me as I was her and purposely told me not to believe what her husband said about them being married after he called.
With the eyes of experience, however, I can now see a pattern in our correspondence that has doubtless been repeated by many people then and since. In practical terms, our attraction grew online and on the phone. A few dates then dispelled this illusion for her, and she gently tried to tell me "let's just be friends". It almost saddens me in a way; it changes my memory of something that seemed life-changing and passionate at the time into something much more commonplace. The fact that our association had such a spectacular epilogue now seems a testament to my thickheadedness. Alas, when it came to the women I met when I was single and dating, it always took me a little longer to ascertain what our chemistry was. It was true in this case as well.
This is the price of consulting primary sources, I suppose. Myths are dispelled and truths are laid bare before the revisionist's scalpel. But perhaps this is a good thing. I can now fully close this chapter of my life as a look forward to another, more interesting one.
on 2003-05-05 at 5:33 p.m.
The Wayback Machine - To Infinity And Beyond