It is a lovely fall day (though rather windy), so I went out for a long walk. I’ve been watching a lot of TV while editing photos, so I switched the podcast for some instrumental music to better listen to my own thoughts for a bit. I saw the plentiful leaves on the ground, and smiled as I remembered playing in piles of leaves in the backyard when I was little. But then the musty smell hit my nose, the smell of decaying bits of life that will be no more. And I was overcome with sadness.
One of the most poignant devices in the Pixar movie Inside Out is how Sadness touches happy memories, permanently turning them blue. I feel like that’s been going on a lot lately in my own brain. I’ll scramble for those bright yellow orbs, trying to cheer myself up with happy recollections, only to feel the sting of recognizing that those times are not coming back.
I’ve been feeling painfully nostalgic a lot lately. A young friend and I have been watching Girl Meets World (and Boy Meets World). That stirs up a lot of stuff. While I certainly don’t miss the angst of crushes, I do miss having a group of friends to hang out with all the time, and the hope I had that someday a crush could like me back. Then last night I was chatting with another young friend, who recently got an N64. I happily reminisced about playing N64 games for hours on end with my guy friends. . . and I miss that.
I don’t look at those years with rose-colored glasses. My high school friends and I promised each other we would never forget how awful it was. I do not miss the emotional rollercoaster, the bullying and teasing, the frequent depression, the pain of unrequited interest and emotional attachment. I do not miss being told I should just go home and kill myself (spoken by a best friend) or watching my friends stray down sinful paths, and the subsequent loneliness. I miss hanging out with friends every day, the Sundays at my pastor’s house that got me through the rest of my week, obsessing with my best friend over our favorite things, sharing inside jokes and favorite quotes, late nights talking, sharing packs of SourPatch Kids Watermelon candy at the movie theater, sledding down the hill and staring at the stars. I miss the times I was filled with hope. I miss the more certain faith I had those years that one friend in particular was in my life.
We met October 3rd, 2001. (That’s another reason fall is a hard time for memories.) He rescued me from unpleasant conversations on a school field trip, and on the bus ride home he looked at the changing leaves and explained to me why fall is his favorite season. There is so much I miss about those years, even though they were also filled with pain. I wouldn’t want to go back. . . but it’s hard not having those good things anymore.