It just won’t happen ever gain, at least not like that. You’re so far removed from the time and place that even trying to conjure up the images and feelings takes some effort. It takes a dream that plunges its hand deep into your subconscious to remind you.
We won’t slide open that glass door again, to have that massive night sky hang heavy over our heads as our feet stepped out onto the back patio. The house inside was so dirty, but it didn’t bug us in the way that it would now, we were aware of it but it was so much easier to navigate through trash and laundry piles and crumbs back then. There were few houses and no towns for miles and miles, so the sky lay brilliant over the landscape, a million lights puncturing through the oppressive darkness and sprawling like a painting far over our heads. There was something about being so small and naive and stepping out underneath that in the dead of night, something mystical would take up residence in the chest, something long ago extinguished. The patio was cool and the backyard opened up to woods, and fields, and other dark, dangerous things that welcomed us like exciting locales from an adventure story. Nothing about any of that land made us wary, and we would run out into it with bare feet, our toes slipping through dew. Everyone would be sleeping, would’ve been long gone, and it was so easy to pretend to be wild then.
And right after being wild, getting ourselves muddy and covered in pond scum, we would slink back into one of those tiny rooms wedged in between the others so awkwardly in that one-level ranch home, a hallway but also a bedroom somehow, and we could cram ourselves in between so many pillows and blankets, with the window wide open letting in that mysticism. The television we tuned was at the foot of the bed, small and old and dirty; we could put on anything and our tabula rasa souls would accept it, have no standards to define it by. We collected faulty and fractured narratives to build our Frankensteined concepts of the world, plucked from the trees and the sky outside, from the VHS tapes, from our own imaginations, slapped together with childish glee like it was a game. There was no such thing as ten years from now. Everything was magic.
I feel as if I can almost pinpoint the exact time that the magic drained from our veins and we woke up to some disgusting, coarse adult world that drove us to make the most banal decisions and to drift far apart onto our own islands. The beginning to our current state, lost at sea forever. We didn’t even wake up to it. We approached this moment as innocently as we approached everything else, we stepped out onto the cool back patio, we laid down on the lounge chairs with our feet pointing up to the moon and stars. We talked, and we talked, and we hobbled together ideas about adulthood and life and growing older, on the cusp of some new segment of our lives, some school year thick with responsibilities. We spoke of all this, sheer speculation, if we had recorded it I’m sure we had been wrong about absolutely every detail, until the sun began to rise over the field of tall grass to the east of us. By the time the sun was up, our sleepless dreams had been cauterized and the magic in circulation was thoroughly exhaled.
When we stood up, the current began to shift.
Navigation is difficult; you can’t find your way back there. Even the subconscious slips over the details. A full on excavation of the self reveals some important details, scenes that can never be reached again, atmospheres completely dissolved into the remote corners of the human spirit. The bonds aren’t broken, but they’re stretched thin. You reach out and take handfuls, hoping to catch something revitalizing, romantic, beautiful.