On Monday, I explained a few bits of my past to a psychologist. I described my relationship with Luis as a terrible mistake, "throwing good money after bad" because I couldn't bear to admit that I'd sacrificed so much for a relationship that never stood a chance of working out. That was, in many ways, a completely accurate description of our relationship.
Yesterday, on the bus home, I was thinking about Roupa Velha, the Portuguese answer to Bubble and Squeak. That made me think of the traditional Portuguese Christmas meal, which I ate at least once at Luis's parents' home: salt cod, which I never much liked, boiled potatoes and chick peas, and a sauce I very much did like. Dr Google's best efforts on the English-language internets have failed so far to turn up a recipe for this sauce, so perhaps it's a secret known only to Portuguese speakers. Perhaps it's a secret known only to one specific Portuguese speaker: Luis's mum.
I wish I was still in touch with her. I wish we could trade recipes and talk, and although there are plenty of good reasons why we can't, there's still an ache somewhere in my heart. I wish I could hang out with Luis's cousins and have them gently tease me for being too shy to speak German even though I can come out with perfectly fluent sentences when I put my mind to it. I wish I could listen to his brother hold forth on his areas of expertise, or even have his dad speak a language I can barely understand at me.
That's the other side of my relationship with Luis, and no less accurate than what I told the psychologist. I was part of a family - both his parents called me "Tochter" - and now I'm not part of it any more. And sometimes I want to grieve for that.
For my own sanity, I usually concentrate on the mistakes I made. The bad things I closed my eyes to, and the good things that turned out to be just figments of my imagination. It's a story that hangs together, that makes sense, that explains a lot of the crap that came afterwards. But it's not the only story. And I don't know how to tell the other one.