Dawn

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The nostalgia of others

There’s nothing to take you back like nostalgia. Maybe cause nostalgia doesn’t have to bother with reality. Reality can never hope to be as perfect thanks to the continued existence of most things.

I always like asking people who were in Joseph’s before I joined it, if things were the same. Did the sun feel the same when it set, do they dream like I did while looking over the banyan, and I wonder just how much of them was left behind- in the air, in the memories of others who we had to feel but didn’t see. What could I have missed and who would I have know? Would we share the same nostalgia?

I ask them these things, in so many words, without saying anything. You might think it’s funny but I ask them about geography, how classes were spread out, how they remember going from one memory to another. Nobody thinks about routine and it melts in memory, something too subconscious for them to reflect on. I draw meaning from it like you’d draw prophecies from tarot cards- except the prophecies point in a different direction.

It’s frustrating how so much seems like the same mundane but with killer details hiding just where I can’t find them, were I can’t understand them. Retro photographs with so much of the same but different.

I’ll reappropriate what sometime once said about men writing about women -A facination with different memories is nothing but a facination with my own doubts, the feeling of uncanniness. What I feel is the same as what one feels in the face of any mirror, any ghost in the face of abrupt reappearance of what one thought lost or overcome.

The nostalgia other people share with you threatens everything you left behind, worrying you with something better, something too simply different. It’s pulls you back, it pulls you apart from different pasts. You might as well stay lost in where you’re familiar.

Stream boat

We played the part like ancient sea gods thundering and hooting while the boats crashed. We laughed and cheered urging the boats on, throwing in monsters and divine smite. Now and then we were the cyclopes hurling boulders as Sinbad fled our island.

Little paper men, our tortured creations struggled on their boats. They were crudely made and wouldn’t survive the water but that’s all they were made for. Irritated fish would take a few peck to our delight, and small whirlpools  doomed the sailors who got far.

I wonder if any survivors made it to calmer waters, green ponds and muddy mangrove inlets. It would have been a long journey past much larger fish who liked to ply the surface of the river as if they really thought they were sea monsters, past birds bathing and swooping down in hunger and in the company of the snails who liked to hitch a ride on everything they came by.

By some mossy green pebbles the paper men might have melted with their paper boats ending on a well deserved journey to Valhalla.