Dear New Year, Old Love:
We’ve begun another new year. I without you and you without me. I promised myself that I would forget you and if I couldn’t forget you, I promised myself that I would seek a way to. I often break promises with myself. This letter is probably an indication of that. Perhaps if you didn’t still hold such an important place in my heart, I would be able to forget you. Not all things in life are easy to erase. You are one of them.
I took a drive tonight. In a whirl of subconscious freedom I found myself driving down the road, which led me to the place, our secret place, where everything we experienced there was nothing but a great memory. Despite that I was aware of where I was travelling to, I couldn’t fathom the thought of turning around. I had to face it. I had to face the place where we shared greatness in us. You’ve always known me as brave and mostly stubborn and when have I ever been afraid? You’re right, almost never. I put the car in park and climbed out of the driver’s seat. I leaned on the hood of the car and took everything in. It was a little scary, being there, without you. I’m not sure if it was because it was dark, but it seemed as though a lot had changed about that place in so little time. The trees are much bigger, the grass is much taller and everything is grander than it used to be. They’ve even started building houses nearby. Everything has become bigger, grander, except our love. A lot has changed. So have we.
I walked to the spot where we sat that night in the cold; where you and I had smoked our last cigarette; where we witnessed the smoke from our mouths get carried out into the distance through the translucent air. I sat there tonight, between frosted blades of grass and buried my head in my arms. I shut my eyes tightly and revisited that moment of moments we shared, once upon a time. I remembered how we sat and stared at the moon and the stars, and breathed out the warm air from our lungs. I rested my head on your shoulder. You wrapped your arm around my left side and held me close. Neither one of us said a word. We just sat there in silence and allowed it to cloak us with comfort. I remembered how beautiful that silence was. There was something about it, which I relished and felt possessed by. The words in this letter wouldn’t be enough to describe the effect it had on me; the effect you had on me. Time stood still and so did we. We didn’t need words. Maybe it was because we couldn’t find the right ones or maybe our love for each other was important enough that it was able to exist without words. I don’t think we ever needed words to explain it, we just knew. Silence was enough. Sitting in the cold beneath the moon and the stars in silence, was enough. We hadn’t even kissed, yet inexplicable electricity between us, was there. Most would have considered it overzealous and silly to contemplate an unstated love as deep as ours. Perhaps it was, but that’s what made it shameless and beautiful. I remember how anxious I was. I remember how butterflies filled my stomach and danced about with excitement. And that knot in my throat. That knot. How I wish I could feel that again.
Tonight I touched my lips and closed my eyes. I tried to remember how kissing you felt. I tried to remember how seamless each brush stroke of your lips was against mine. I remember how you looked at me, how you looked into my eyes and held your stare. I remembered how you placed your hands on both sides of my face, pulled me in with assurance and confident strength, and kissed me. I remembered how deliberate your intent was. After I reminisced about that moment, I opened my eyes and I placed my hand on my chest to feel my beating heart. A lump formed in my throat, different than the one I had felt years ago when I sat there with you. All I felt now was sadness. That lump in my throat was the result of tears being held back. Panic electrocuted me. In that moment I realized I was there, alone, without you. In that moment I was afraid that I would probably be alone forever. I fell back and lay there and although I wanted to cry I felt an overwhelming blissful sensation of joy. I lay there with my arms behind my head and smiled. Although I was sad, I was interrupted by happiness. I suppose what they say is true: you can be sad and happy at the same time. Bittersweet moments seem to strike us in the most magical of ways. It’s finding happiness in sadness which makes a memory, a moment, very significant. When you can miss someone and smile at the same time it demonstrates true victory over a broken heart. It demonstrates that wonderful memories have the strength to last a lifetime.
So, I write this letter to you with tears and a smile. This bittersweet feeling I have is not a force to be reckoned with. If you’re wondering why, I’ll explain. I wrote this letter to come to terms with what I felt tonight. If this letter ever finds you, please read it with an open heart. Every word hangs from emotion. Every word is a glimpse of our past. I have always hated clichés, I have, but I couldn’t help but imagine a senseless, bold me, who had the guts to run outside in the gently falling snow, all the way to you, just to tell you how wrong I was, what a big mistake I had made and how much I wanted to recover what we had and how much I wanted to bring it back to life. Every New Year’s Eve, I pictured our reconciliation like this, but I never followed through. My pride always got in the way. I suppose the abolisher of fairytales, in me, always interfered. I sometimes wish we could go back to that moment where you and I sat on that hill, in the cold, where we didn’t feel cold. We felt like ourselves. Now I don’t feel like myself anymore, because you’re gone. Perhaps one day we’ll find ourselves on that hill where things would be different just to be the same, in the way they used to. If that day never comes, just know that I’ll be fine. I will forever celebrate a new year, an old love.
Your past love
When I was a kid I always savored the moment no matter how big or how small it was. If it was a moment that meant something to me I would often collect and keep something from where I was. I was never the type of kid to write in a diary regularly. I was the type of kid who kept a piece of something, which meant everything. I used to store birthday cards, letters, wristbands from concerts and trips, concert tickets, rocks (the list goes on) in a small drawer and when that small drawer became too full to close I decided that it might be a good idea to store those tangible memories in a box. So that’s what I did. I’ve accumulated so many things that I now have two shoe boxes stuffed with a bunch of things that most would consider crap. But it’s not crap to me and I’m by no means a hoarder. I’m what you would call a memory hoarder whose memories are safely locked away in shoe boxes. Those shoe boxes are filled with the greatest and most meaningful things, which spark some of the most wonderful memories of once upon a time.
I often wonder where the years have gone. When did I finish school? When did I turn 24? Sometimes it feels like everything that happened before today went by so fast that it’s become a blur. So when the past seems a little hazy and life is a little boring I turn to my memory box, I open it up and I revisit those moments. It’s nice to touch, feel, and have your memories at your fingertips. It triggers a warm feeling from within which often takes away from the stress of living in the now. I’ll have to admit that nostalgia is my weakness. It has the power to wrap its arms around me and give me comfort. I suppose this is why nostalgia and the importance of memories have become a recurring theme in the book I’m writing. The moments we keep as memories and the things we keep from those moments play an important role in story-telling. My shoe box of memories is a time capsule of moments and tiny little stories for what feels like a century ago. It’s important to bridge the gap between the past and present. It definitely makes you a more sentimental writer.
When my mother witnessed me on a chair reaching for the back corner of my closet she asked me what I was doing. I told her that I was looking for my memory box and that re-visiting my past would be a great way to spark some inspiration for writing. She asked me to get down from the chair and to follow her to her room. I waited outside her closet doors while she moved things around and when she was done she emerged from her closet with a box in her hands. “This is my memory box,” she said. She opened up the box and took out little bits and pieces of her past and shared what they meant. Each letter, card, ticket and trinket had a story attached to it. Those three hours became the greatest learning experience for me. I think I learned more about my mother in those three hours than I ever have in my 24 years of knowing her. I learned that she’s a memory hoarder like me and sentimental. I also saw a different side of her I didn’t know existed. There was a time where she was madly in love and although she never fell out of it she had sort of lost the ability to show my father that she’s still that person. She was a deep thinker who loved to write poetry and a lover of music and movies. The stories she shared with me revealed a side I had never seen before and I’m glad I stayed to listen. I suppose all it took was taking a trip down her memory lane to learn some new things about her. She told me that she had forgotten a lot of these moments and didn’t remember that she could write with such passion and depth. These memories which were tucked away in a box helped her rediscover herself by opening up her past. It made me smile to see her smile. With her permission I asked if it would be okay if I could post one of her letters or poems. Here is a poem she wrote for my dad when they were dating.