And just like a past lover, it remains so painfully silent
And though most days I am doing okay
Silence has a way of making for want.
Dear ex-home, please know that I’m doing well here
This city is so exhilarating and I’ve met a great many people
And seen a great many things.
I know your small mind would refuse this place’s magnitude
That’s why I left, do you remember?
It wasn’t on bad terms, and I am not bitter
But please, whatever you do,
Please do not invite me back with open arms
For my greatest fear is that I might sink into them
And never return.
I didn’t come to Chicago without first experiencing my share of loss in a number of ways. Some wounds are still fresh, some are scarred over and still tingle, like the scars on my body from the car crash I was in when I was 16. The concepts that Bradbury introduces in “The Lake” -nostalgia, loss, longing for the past, moving on with the future- are ones I’ve been exploring myself. It’s so easy to wish for the past, in all of its simplicity and ease. I read and reread an old journal I’ve had since I was a freshman often, letting myself laugh and cry with all of it. I go through and make notes on entries. I find myself often thinking, “If only I could go back…” which is one of those stereotypical thoughts that everyone’s therapist refutes with something about living in the moment. Even still, I wonder, how would I change my past?
Would my friend still had shot himself? Would my best friend stay in an abusive relationship for years? Would I have? If I could have my “Tally” back, if they would rise up from the waves and greet me like none of the pain happened, would it really be what I want? It’s more accurate that every single one of my Tallys -people or places or moments- belongs in the past where they fit. Those things that I long for because of their simplicity would feel hollow now; I’m not the same person as when we were together.
The past, like death, has a miraculous quality in which everything it touches never ages. Whether or not I would still take my past back for the sake of having it again is something I still don’t know the answer to, and sometimes fear, but I’m finding that life is anything but knowing what to do. Sometimes you have to drag yourself through the sand to the stranger waiting at the top of the hill. Sometimes the grass looks greener in the shade. Sometimes I like to believe that the stranger in front of me is better than the past rotting behind me.
(Madison Tozier/CoS Student)