Can you feel a nostalgia for something you never had?
Something you wanted so badly, something that grazed the end of your finger
tips and flowed right on through the gaps in between them, like water from a
waterfall. Rushing, flowing, gone.
Can you miss moments that never happened and memories that you never shared? Can you dream of a life you could never lead and feel sad that it didn’t get to happen?
We spend our lives surrounded by media. Films, TV shows,
books, music. All of which fill our heads with ideal situations and depictions
of our lives. All of which told me, as a teenager and young adult, I’d spend my
spare time in my home town racing after my friends and giggling as I did so. We’d
be having water fights in late summer evenings, we’d stay up late talking about
anything and nothing and binge eating pizza to our hearts content. I’d have guy
friends, and girl friends, and anyone in between friends. And we’d all share
jackets and borrow shirts and live our lives hiding from the mornings and
watching the stars at night. We’d drive to each other’s houses and collectively
lose at video games. We’d marathon movies, and fall asleep laid on each other,
waking up only because your arm had gone dead from someone laying on it.
We’d spend our summer evenings wandering around town, sitting in the sunshine and dancing to the buskers. We’d laugh at the drunk adults, stumbling out of pubs. We’d run through fountains and sit under the stars. We’d climb to the top of the highest hill and sit, covered in blankets, and stare out at the city lights in front of us. In that moment we’d feel so small, at the prospect of the city, the country, the world in front of us. But it wouldn’t matter, because we had each other and none of that would ever change. We’d all fall in love, some as friends, some as more. But it would never matter, because our friendship would be so strong that no relationship would ever come in between it. We’d laugh, cry, and smile together. We’d stumble, fall, get back up, run, walk, dance, sing, and love together.
But that’s not what happened. I spent evenings with friends, for sure. But so many of those friends turned out to be different to who I thought they were. I don’t have a core network at home like I was told I would. We don’t drive around, picking everyone up, just to go sit and look out over the city. We don’t have spontaneous movie marathons because we have nothing else to do. We don’t have water fights, or race trolleys around car parks, or binge eat pizza and talk about nothing and everything all at once. That didn’t happen. And sometimes I’m sad because of it. I get glimpses of the feelings of pure happiness and joy I’ve come to associate with these ideas, but they slip away before I can grab hold of them properly. Like water flowing through your fingers.
Can you feel nostalgic for a time and place that you can’t have? For laughs never shared and stories never told. For hands never held, and for memories never made.
I guess so.