Imagine that you are a young woman in the prime of your life. You have this boyfriend; he is sexy and smart and fun to be around, mostly. As soon as you met, he opened himself up to you and you could see all this amazing potential. He could be great, and you could be great by his side. The two of you have chemistry. There's just something about him that feels right to you.
You even like a lot of his friends. They're interesting and sharp and when you all hang out together, you feel so at home. You know that if you were dating some other guy, some Joe Schmoe from the office, you would never have found friends this cool. They introduce you to all this great music and they know all the best places to hear it. There's not a hole-in-the-wall or greasy spoon they haven't tried and judged, and you revel in the fruits of their searching.
He even cooks. He can make all kinds of things, but he has one dish, let's say barbecue, that is really special--the best you've ever had. Sure, maybe sometimes he gets in a barbecue rut, but even then, you have to admit it's good. It's what you want him to make when friends come over, and it's what you crave when you have to be apart.
But this guy, he has some issues. For a while you can overlook the problems--no one's perfect, right? So he's a little moody. A little bit of a slob around the house. The apartment you now share is starting to look a little shabby, especially when you compare it to your friends' places. Still, its better than what you could afford if you weren't with him. And really, you could let all of that go, every bit of it, if it weren't for this anger thing that just seems to be getting worse with every passing day.
At first you only hear about it. There's a story of how he lost it with some guy at a bar, or the office smartass. Then there will be a day now and then when he seems touchy, quick to raise his voice. After a while, it gets harder to relax around him. You're always wondering, in the back of your mind, when he's going to blow. And finally one day, it happens--he directs the full force of his anger at you. You probably didn't even do anything, just minding your own business when suddenly, Bam! He's in your face, screaming about nothing you did, and then the unthinkable happens, and he hits you.
You are stunned. Somehow, even though you knew it was happening all around you, you cannot believe this has hit home. You think about leaving, but it's so hard to wrap your mind around all the things you will lose. And even though it makes you hate yourself a little bit, you still love him. You can't forget all the good times, all the things you only feel when you're with him. You know that you won't get to keep his friends. Sure, you'll stay in touch, but it can never be the same. And you won't be able to go to the old hangouts--they're his territory. You imagine never tasting his cooking again--where will you get babrbecue that good? You look at other apartments and think of how you could fix them up, make them your own, and it all seems great, but then you go home and all your stuff is there, and your good memories, and it makes you angry that he has done this.
Why should you have to leave? Why can't he get himself together, why can't all those things you love about him be the whole story, why can't he see how perfect things would be if he would just deal with his problems? But in the end, you know that he won't. You know that you have to go. And you know, already, that you will never get over the feeling that he was the one, that it really was meant to be between the two of you, but he ruined it, and you just can't forgive him for that. You will never stop feeling angry about what could have been, the waste of it, the frustrating clarity of your vision of the man he could have chosen to become. You're young, you'll meet someone else, but you know there's some small part of yourself that you won't be able to give again, because you never got it back.
That is exactly what Memphis is like.