Nostalgia is a strong drug. I sat with my feet up on the balcony railing, thoroughly reclined in my chair. The city below sat quiet and empty on the damp night. Maybe it was something about the weather or the clothing combination, hoodie and shorts, that took me back.
As the cool of this evening nipped at my cheeks I couldn’t help but remember walking with a girl on far distant days. Back when the fall of another hemisphere nipped, and I still rejected it, wearing shorts far out of season. She wore a hoodie and a skirt, four legs combined, all braving the cold, damp air to impress each other.
It was an era when I would fall so in love with girls I’d get dizzy. My constitution wasn’t made for such a rush. Their smiles were hits of a drug that nothing has ever come close to replicating. No rush would ever compare- something that I am ok with, if only after years of resignation.
The wind picks up shaking more leaves off the trees. I watch them fall down from their heights, past my fourth floor balcony, out of sight, down onto the street below. I remember how her hair used to blow in the breeze, how it would glisten in the sun. How she could turn, as if oriented by an internal compass, to place her head between me and the afternoon sun, backlighting her face. It would glow resplendently, made glorious by that smile. Something Hollywood often tries to recreate, but in my eye will never be equaled.
Perhaps it is the bullshit of the years, or the slow smudging of memories we do to fit them to our perceptions of ourselves. Maybe she only smiled once and it was for one of the ducks in the park. Perhaps the solar alignment was chance or happenstance. What’s the harm, though, from the perspective of this balcony.
Of all the lies we tell ourselves, or memories we remember in ways that we wish, this is one I will never renounce. I guess I could just email her and ask, but I think it’s best if I just let sleeping dogs lie, and remember her beautiful smile all those years ago.
If I ever do email her it will only be to tell her that as much as her smile was beautiful then, I’m sure age has given it a refined edge, rendering it more beautiful with each passing day, just as it has my memory of those halcyon days.
I sighed, warmed by the memory. I couldn’t help but feel a smile cross my face, not as beautiful as hers then or now, but my own nevertheless. The chill of the damp night stands no chance against the furnace of sweet memories. Those dripping with the honey of youth, and encased in the amber of joy.
I watched another leaf, green but a few weeks ago, drop from the heights, past my line of sight, and into the damp beyond below.