When we were young, we could only look forward. The future was not yet written by regret. And the past was something we couldn’t wait to get rid of.
When we were young, secrets were exciting. We shared them to get closer. It never occurred to us that they might someday be something of a burden.
When we were young, we waited for letters. When would they come? Can you remember the ecstasy of anticipation, how we waited all summer for a sign? And when they came, we would read them over and over. The texture of the paper, the scent, the etching of the words - sometimes carved with care, sometimes scribbled in haste - the pulse of our lover’s heart. We kept them in a shoebox, along with other momentos and tokens of our affection, a time-capsule, a shrine, to our fragile youth.
When we were young, the ring of a telephone sent shivers of excitement. We could talk for hours, until someone else pleaded with us to get off the line. Your voice gave me butterflies in my stomach. I could almost feel your breath in my ear. Your laughter made my heart ache, as I longed to see you. Sometimes, I held the receiver so tightly that my hands went numb, as I tried to pull you closer. How we dreaded being the first to hang up. How gut-wrenching when the line was cut, or we heard the dull throb of the dial-tone.
When we were young, we wandered aimlessly, without purpose or care. It was enough to be together, to bask in each other’s company and the radiance of smiles. The thrill of holding hands and interlocking fingers. The excruciating punishment of separation. Excitement abounded. It was everywhere. Every day brought new adventure. And when we got back together, we couldn’t wait to entertain one another with stories of where we’d been. What we might call a "normal day", now, was anything but normal, then.
When we were young, there were no wrong decisions. Only possibilities. One by one, we stacked them in a line, until they took us somewhere farther - much further from us. And, later, when we looked back, it made the present less exciting, so we chose to ignore it. That was when the past took on another dimension. It became thicker and more dangerous. If we looked, then, to the future, it no longer looked as limitless as it once did. Things don’t shine in the future; they lurk - which is why we prefer to focus on the present.
As we grow older, we excuse our younger selves. Our follies are framed by inexperience. They are like old family photos in which people wear funny trousers and the colours have gone all wonky. A lifetime ago. We have long since thrown out those shoebox shrines. We laugh, sometimes, at our younger selves. What did we know? Precious little. Yet, we were so cocky, so sure of ourselves. So certain that our unbridled passion, our abject will, would guide us to our heart’s desire.
Now that I am older, I wonder if we should be so dismissive of our youth? As I look through the eyes of my children, I see their innocence as razor sharp. They question the absurdities of the world, because the world is so often, badly broken and absurd. It is a world made by older people who have forgotten what it was like to talk for hours on the phone and cherish precious letters. It is a world ruled by common sense - as if sense was ever common, or even sensible! When I educate them, am I not making excuses for myself?
My memories of you are a time machine. When I look into your eyes, I can only see your younger self. When I hold your hand, time evaporates. When I am next to you, colours look brighter, people seem friendlier and the future suddenly expands into something wonderfully mysterious, again. I am transported to a place where everything is exotic and electric, once more.
I will no longer be dismissive of youth. I will not belittle its impulses or emotions. For youth has a clarity that comes from an uncluttered view of the future. It is a place where the heart understands what it wants. And I realise, now, that we were much smarter then.
(Based on this Story Jam)
Fruit from this Jam:
Time's Chaos. by Benjamin
The Frenchman by MichaelThompson
Americana Chance by
Modern Factory by Matt Drake
A wrinkle in Time by
Emilio by Richard
Personal time by lindalopez
Time Machine by Zita Barlai
All in the mind by Sam
When we were young by Kip Logan
Echoes of Darkness by James
we are Al ready time machines by David Pinto
song on repeat by H.L.W.
The Black Hole Walker by Kevin Cagle