Bringing up the Past

Olivia read through the email again, not quite believing her eyes. It had been thirty years since she had left school, and she had not heard from Karl since then. But there he was, emailing her as though they had not spent so much as a day apart.

She could barely remember their brief relationship. In fact, she was certain that if he had not made such a fuss over her platonic relationship with her brother’s best friend Mickey, she would not have remembered it at all. It might have been a couple of months long, at best, and once she had experienced her first real adult relationship, she had realised how childish it had been.

Karl, on the other hand, wrote to her as though he could remember their time together in detail. In his email, he had thought it necessary to remind her that it had been the first time either of them had had sex, as though this was supposed to be of some significance to Olivia. She had been with several other men since then, and each of those relationships had lasted longer, and made her happier, than her time with Karl.

From the sound of his email, it almost seemed as though he was trying to lure her into a false sense that they would be good together. Karl talked about how he had married, how his marriage had failed (all her fault, he had written), and how he had felt during the divorce, which had only been finalised about a month ago. Then there were several long paragraphs detailing events in their childhood relationship that Olivia could not remember, but which Karl had obviously committed to memory.

The end of the email seemed deliberately obscure. Karl had finished it with a suggestion that they find some time to meet up over a drink or for a meal, so that they could get to know one another again. It sounded like a plea to rekindle their very old flame if Olivia had ever heard one.

She thought about accepting for a while, but making it clear to him that she would be nothing more than a friend. From the tone of his email, however, she was not sure that he would be willing to accept that. Karl’s repeated comments on their relationship implied that he would accept nothing less than a romantic meeting. Even if Olivia had not been happily married with three kids, she would not have wanted to put herself in that situation.

Sure, there were stories out there of people who had begun dating in their youths and either stayed together or reunited to rekindle their relationships at a later date, and many of them seemed to be content. But Olivia was already content with her husband. The only reason why she was still looking at the email was because she was amazed that, after so long, Karl had bothered to – or even thought about – emailing her.

She deleted the email and signed out of her account. The past, especially such a minor part of her past, was not worth thinking about, and should stay where it was. It was a pity that poor Karl had brought their time together up – a pity that Karl had so little, that he had felt the need to make a futile attempt to revive a thirty year old relationship.


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