Nostalgia. It’s the time traveller’s glue.

And this was where I found myself before Christmas. Thinking of forgotten friends, old memories, feeling warmed and curious.

Caution, though. Nostalgia’s a mermaids’ song. A temptress, a distraction. It fills in the empty holes, scattering fairy dust, embellishing moments that were never there.

…But to hell with that. I dove straight in.

Facebook at my finger tips, I took a deep breath and messaged old friends. Hope you don’t mind me contacting you? How are you doing now? You haven’t changed. What was I doing? Exposing myself to online silence, to the inevitable rejection. And why on earth would they want to hear from me again? Surely I was being presumptuous? And how would I be remembered? Because I have changed….in ways. Twenty years can’t fly without some chiseling. But essentially the same? I think so. The enthusiasm still burns.

And there were some silences. And that’s fine. A few school friends. Connections beyond even a whisper. Then there were the Uni friends. People I had grown with, let go after graduation, or lost in the midst of getting on, spinning records, life. But important people. The intimate sharing of feelings and ideas, ecstasy and kisses. One is no longer alive.

But I’ve met with a few. Old times remembered over champagne, over cake, over pale ale and pasta. The hilarity. The grainy photographs. Oh my God, did I look like that? What is that on my head? I snogged him! Just like yesterday. The same smiles. The same wit. The same warmth. But wiser, and more lived. More real. And the new stories. Growing up. Kids and careers.The parting of ways. The getting older, but the affirmation we stayed true, true to something, to our hearts, even if we were blind, and maybe these roots lay in a dusty lecture theatre, or in a field off our heads on ‘shrooms.

Now a journalist. Now a mosaic artist. Now a sculptor, figures of bronze and clay.

You’re gonna be a DJ? Dream on… Someone said to me.

But we did it anyway.

Why though? Why this rewind? What have I lost? What do I hope to find? Is it validation I seek? Am I that hollow? Or is this about shapeshifting, moving around the pieces after loss, the death of a marriage? I think it’s the latter. I think it’s about reclamation. Of perhaps reclaiming the joy and the wonder brewed in years gone by. Of reopening, expanding, letting a bird fly free. Maybe in the years of routine, those domestic set-pieces, something shrank… maybe. Or perhaps this is another grief, of letting go what could never be, crying away what are now simply echoes…

Or perhaps, my great, fat mid-life crisis.

4 responses

  1. Glad you have been reconnecting, it’s lovely when it works out isn’t it? I have a handful of what I call “history friends” – we might not see each other very often, but when we do we always have something to talk about. Here’s to midlife crises if they involve fun, long lost friendship and lots of laughing about the good old days! 😀

    • I like that term, ‘history friends.’ Some of these old friends I hadn’t spoken to in over twenty years, but it didn’t seem to matter – it was oldly like it was only yesterday. Yes, here’s to the good old days. X

  2. I liked reading this post. I’m glad that many people from your past were responsive. You can’t under estimate a shared history. If you’ve bonded with x or y then that bond is likely to always be there. I find the fact that everyone changes massively, but hardly at all, really comforting. Knowing that old friends will always be there. Sometimes the past and present need to collide to determine the future xx

    • Loved this, ‘I find the fact that everyone changes massively, but hardly at all, really comforting.’ Yes it is comforting – that people essentially don’t change that much – the core of who they are effectively stays the same. And this too, ‘the past and present need to collide to determine the future’ – very wise and true; its about consolidation and laying new foundations.X

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