By Gabby Price, Staff Writer
An old man sits contentedly on a corner bench shaded by a thin, premature tree. His wiry, wrinkled hands shake as he fumbles with a lighter. His skin is red, speckled, and leathery. From his mouth hangs a thick, long cigar. He appears satisfied, submerged in relaxed contemplation.
I feel aimless today; the hours have passed by in strange intervals. Time swirls around, leaving me lost, dazed, stunted, and disoriented. My phone reads 4:25 pm. Something about it feels random. What exactly do people do at 4:25 pm on a Wednesday? Idly, I continue walking, noticing the elementary details of life, like the lint collecting on my shirt, how the breeze fiddles with the leaves, and the way the branches on trees fidget from the wind. Things stand out with supreme flavor as if I had never seen them before, making themselves known with astonishing significance.
My thoughts drift in and out, and I find myself with nothing interesting to focus on.
Lately, waves of nostalgia wash over me. It has never been so frequent and overpowering as it is now—a displaced feeling attached to no particular memories, folding me up into the past. Like déjà vu in its abstraction, it’s a joyful sadness attached to no particular memories. Completely out of context, just the feelings of childhood. It’s brought about by minute fleeting moments like a solitary breeze, the smell of autumn, or a fragment of conversation.
Funny how unpredictable and inexpressible nostalgia is, the way it bubbles up and propels me into a vague past. I fall into a sort of rhythmic trance, a state that’s so potent and peaceful I want to fall into it sleepily and float languidly away. It doesn’t feel straightforward at all but more invisible and erratic. A quote I once read secretly resurfaces in my thoughts: “Any feeling in the fullness of time sinks into nothing.” The words bounce around inside my head, as I turn back around the way I came. In passing I notice the old man and his cigar, now a measly stub.