What sticks in memory of those we have loved?

It had been fifteen years, and while recovering from surgery, Bret called out Cami’s name a few times.


It’s strange what sticks with people in relationships. Some girls I date only briefly, but they leave a lasting impact on me, while others relationship last much longer but leave nothing to linger. I always wonder why this is, but this isn’t my story today. It’s my closest friend’s.

In college, he dated Cami for over a year, and he was head over heels for her. He talked about her all the time. I even worried that she was influencing his decisions too much. Then he took an internship out of the country and when he came back the magic, on her side, was gone.

He was still in love with her, but she was dating other people. She didn’t seem able to reject him outright, but she also wouldn’t date him exclusively.

But he held on. Something about this girl he was unable to shake.

Later she took an internship on the other side of the United States, and despite being apart, it seemed the help the relationship. They wrote to each other often, then about halfway through things started to fall apart again.

Frustrated and determined, Bret tried to figure out what was happening. He eventually traced it to the Cami’s mother, who had made up her mind to drive her daughter away from Bret.

In movies and television when parents make this kind of decision, it always backfires. Rebellious children pursue their romantic interest with greater intensity. But in my experience in my life, it usually works.

I dated a girl once, whose mother didn’t like me, and she set out to end our relationship, and she was successful. And it happened again to my friend. And one of the women in my writing group did it to her daughter. She didn’t like the boyfriend, so she drove them apart.

At one point he even was forwarded an email and in it was this exact phrase. “I don’t think he’s such a good guy. I think he voted for Obama.”

We both puzzled over this statement. The mother had equated his political choice with his quality of character as though all non-republicans were evil. Not only that, but she didn’t know who he voted for, she was just guessing.

The mother kept driving the wedge, and eventually, it took.

So, fifteen years later, Bret goes in for surgery. In the drug-induced haze after, he called out the Cami’s name several times. He has dated a lot of girls since, and most of those relationships lasted longer, those where not the names he called out.

It’s strange what sticks and what doesn’t, and I wish I understood why. Even in my own life. Why is Amy ever on my mind, but I can barely remember Karlie?