Do you know the pleasant tingling sensation you can feel at the back of your head when hearing the Moomin theme song, or when remembering how your primary school teacher used to ask you how your mother and siblings were doing? Or when having a flashback of your graduation day: sweaty palms, too much lipstick and tears of achievement? You know – that moment when it feels like something at the back of your mind, like a sneeze, freezes for a second and then slowly melts. It can be a thought: old words that suddenly come back to you and you can almost hear them right now – like the ones your mother encouraged you with, after your first friendship drama in kindergarten. It can be a smell: how your grandmother’s house used to wrap the aroma of freshly baked cinnamon buns around every visitor. It can be a song: those ones you sang along to with your siblings when watching The Sound of Music. Or it can be an image, suddenly flashing in front of you: marshmallow-grilling at an old friend’s house, the front yard of which now looks greener than ever before.
The sneeze-like sensation warms up your long-time memory and drowns your consciousness in expired feelings. The voyage of déjà-vu can take you from overwhelming happiness to sinking sadness in a couple of seconds. It acquaints you with your memories afresh, releasing what I am addicted to: nostalgia.
i’ve got a sneeze at the back
of my mind
sneezeful of old thoughts
flashes of antique ego
tingling at the head
of my consciousness,
temperatures that existed
around my past being
smells that have long ago fainted
creep up the tunnels
of my sense
Nostalgia isn’t really the worst thing to be addicted to. It isn’t even a substance that you could buy, intake or abuse. On the other hand, it isn’t exactly the best thing to fill your evenings with either, because you could surely be doing something more productive than reminiscing. And for some reason, it’s always in the evenings when it arrives. I can’t recall of ever having drunk nostalgic tears at day-time. There’s something about that turn in the light; you see, when the day starts feeling blue and then, all of a sudden, gets tired of having to be so energetic, and travels. The rays of sunlight travel years –
teary eyes that belong to a moment
ghosts that try to set themselves free
of my spine
They travel inside your spine, conquering the corners of your skull, then flashing bright in front of you again: look, it’s you at 16 years old, at that new school, meeting your future best friend! And, there’s more, you are next shown a scene of a group of feather-haired little humans watching a Disney film and eating candy so sour that everyone, in turn, does that awkward half-blink of their right eye. And you really sink in, letting nostalgia intoxicate you.
legs that suddenly lose their weight
as if i was really running
at these seconds ticking away right
of my now
and i get confused
the sneeze does not come
of my self
But then comes a grey thought. Then a couple of even darker ones, spiralling up to paint a grave of a memory. There’s his nervous laugh, those are the keys you threw at him that last morning, oh and how you had just kissed – then French clouds and hundreds of kilometres above earth. You wish you had never met him as you, again, swallow salty tears, then and now.
smoke that burns here like my naivety did
off my skin
it pierces my seams
off you on my mind
how hard i have tried
to maintain this abstinence of reminiscing
because see i do not
want to be stifled by
all that i have thought
off my mind
therefore only i remains
Moving on, you want to see something more harmless and heart-warming, you try your best not to be fooled by bad nostalgia. And there’s how your mother used to call you self-confident when you were 12 and here’s your reaction: you frowned in disbelief and surprise, and the next day, you got that new haircut! You could feel the heavy ends of your curls on your shoulders again, and as if encouraged by them, you decided not to believe your mother. You did not feel confident in your young self.
well, you run in between
careful not to lose those lightweight thighs
- carpe diem
There you are, carefully listening to teachers repeating how you have to know what you want to be when you grow up, but at the same time, pressuring you to live in the moment – and not to forget your inner child along the way either. You were so confused, remember? This one does not pleasantly tickle at the back of your mind, no – it hammers the edge of your comfort zone; it spreads false tunes all over your brain cells. All of a sudden, you are all grown up and it feels right, oh wait,
but where do you see yourself in five
years that have grown you into this
off your been brain
an alien feeling
this woman far from all that has been
how could you resist
going back, well
off this ground
You manage to switch off the hammering beat of the grey; now you float again. Although you are amazed as well as terrified at how you have become who you now are, by going through all this and that, and even the black moments – and you really are different now than you were then – you eventually just relax. When it feels this safe, this comfortable, this happy – while nostalgia is singing you a soft lullaby – how could you resist going back to
the good old days?
And why should I not repeat it all over again tomorrow?