I’m filled with nostalgia like an adult who wishes to go back in time when the days were ‘more simple,’ ‘less serious,’ ‘carefree.’ My mind is that of Dorian Gray, searching for the playfulness, ease and innocence of forever youth.
During winter days in particular, nostalgia takes hold of me, like when I catch a whiff of a wood fire and remember my family home from childhood: my Father brushing a comb through my long hair, a puzzle on the dining room table, the sweet smells of my Mother’s kitchen. I remember the timid change of the seasons in California, of summer camp in Oregon in ‘97, of The Wonder Years on the TV set, and I feel a sense of longing for the years’ past.
I remember walking down my favorite street in Los Gatos with my parents, kicking autumn leaves off of the sidewalk, and wishing they’d slow down growing older or stop growing older altogether. I remember the first man I ever loved, and my god I loved him so; the way his words made my heart sing loudly in both pleasure and surrender. And I also remember the man who broke me down to a shell of myself, leaving me to feel so young and so alone in a country that was not my own. I remember sitting around that tremendously red, circular table outside of the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris with Jean—my dear friend Jean—talking about the senate, American rock ‘n roll and poets. I remember reading his letters wistfully near the ocean years later: “you will always be my muse.”
I remember this one particular mountaintop where I sat in silence watching an infinite line of ocean and sky wondering softly to myself why oh why do I live in New York. I remember missing that moment before it even started. I remember my back garden in North Melbourne, the quaint Victorian home where everything always felt easy and made sense. Where there was no internal chatter, no questioning. Just simplicity and lightness. I remember I went there searching for nothing and left with everything. I remember taking endlessly long walks through Manhattan during summer nights in 2011, stopping only to linger in places filled with books and ideas.
That summer, I grew into myself. I remember that jazz club in Paris around the corner from Shakespeare & Co., the one underground where we drank whiskey and he held my hand like it was the most important thing he ever did. I remember the fear of forgetting these memories and writing them down to tell to you now, so we can share our nostalgia for the deliciousness of being young in the world.