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Sages and Pages

Post: Welcome

Do You Remember Me? Part I

I heard that song.

The culprit was choosing to shuffle all of my liked songs on Spotify. I was sitting on the couch, one leg under the other, reading Americannah. The windows were open, bringing the smell of the outdoors indoors. I was perfectly peaceful, and my mind was fully absorbed in imagining Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's words when the song changed.

Then, I was 30 years younger, and so was he. My fingers felt the metal door handle of a 1987 Oldsmobile Firenza. I felt the tightness of uncertainty in my muscles. A deep crevice opened in my chest, fearing this would be the last time I drove him home. The sun set as we talked in my car and Jeff Buckley sang "The Last Goodbye." It was an omen. I remembered crying on my drive home, the night enveloping me with a sense of anonymity.

It was amusing to have been so instantly brought back to a decades-old hurt. My friend said, "Well, songs can do that." as we reminisced about our youth. Unlike him, she knew me then, and she knows me now.

I'm not in love with him anymore, yet I rarely listen to that song. And it is a great song. That same friend advised me, "You should just play it on repeat for a week; it will help make new memories for it." I nod in agreement but know I won't do that because I want to be caught off guard like that again.

I don't want to give up that part of me that knows what it feels like to be 16. The intoxicating mixture of uncertainty, fear, sadness, hopefulness, and excitement because my whole life is ahead of me instead of behind me. My wistfulness is about him, and it is about an older woman yearning for a time when her freedom outweighed her responsibility. It occurred to me that maybe he thinks of me, too. I wonder if he mourns our youth together.

This feeling of missing is not a dull ache I carry with me; it arrives unexpectedly and leaves quietly, never drawing attention when it closes the door. Like a baby playing peek-a-boo, I will forget it exists until it reappears.

I like to think that we all carry these experiences around as we load our groceries and do our dishes. I want to believe we all have younger pieces of ourselves just waiting for the right moment to remind us who we have been and who we are. I imagine we are all threads held in the spiderweb of someone's mind; this interconnectedness through experience and memory creates something larger. I hope that our love, however fleeting, doesn't disappear even apart.

Most of all, I hope we remember.


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