Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
Welcome to nostalgia week at What The Hell. It’s not nostalgia in the sense of, “Gee, I miss The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Nor, now that I’m a cranky old man, is it the kind like, “Things were better back then. In my day …”
No, these are just your plain old white bread recollections about particular people who have popped into my head, essentially uninvited. Three women. Girls, to be accurate, I guess, since we were all pretty young when we rubbed elbows.
Two of them were romantic interests that never got off the ground. Those fantasy girls that you’re infatuated with and can’t stop thinking about, who are either oblivious to you or cruelly flirty with no intention of letting you see them naked. As a budding young fiction writer, I found it easy to write life narratives involving them, lengthy epics that took us through all of life’s topographies, with or without children. You can imagine that they linger in the mind as the ones who got away. But something about them abides in me for more than that, since my narratives were really very detailed. I write novels, remember.
The other was actually my girlfriend for two years, my first sexual conquest, and, ultimately, my first real heartbreak. No, we never forget that one, and to be totally honest I haven’t engaged in a lot of fantasies about what it would have been like to marry her and live a life. The bad taste left in my mouth from our breakup made that unappealing. I’ve just always wondered whatever became of her.
When you indulge in a personal nostalgia trip you have to be ready for some revelations that might shock or disturb. Ideas that come from inside you. Understandings that you might be remembering people inaccurately, or that you weren’t as meaningful to them as they were to you. You might question the quality of the island you find yourself on now. Did you try hard enough? Are there any just deserts on your plate? If there was a fork in the road, where was it? Did you even notice? Or did you just drive past it without much thought of the consequences?
A tricky substance, nostalgia. It’s sticky, like bread dough, but it can’t be so easily rolled into a shape you like. Soon it’s all over your hands. You wish you could put it aside, but it won’t let go. You have to get on with things, but here’s this blob of tacky goo all over the place and it’s starting to get into delicate places that won’t be easy to clean. In your sleep, afterward, it’ll come right back and hijack dreams.
That’s why I go ahead and give into it every so often. It’s like a lost weekend. Succumb and be done with it.
Tomorrow’s Girl No. 1, then the other two, and then a wrap-up post, and hopefully by next week I’ll be able to pay some final attention to 2016 before it slinks out the door.