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.