Simpler Times

There’s something about nostalgia

I obsess over it.

Most of my tattoos are tied to it,

half of my wardrobe is related to it.

I attach myself to the past,

it’s difficult to let it go,

it’s too easy to reflect on,

to reminisce about the Simpler Times.

I find myself playing old games from my childhood,

going for walks where I spent so much time as a child,

but why?

I’m often let down,

the games aren’t what they used to be,

the walks cluttered with litter and nosy people,

but I find myself drawn to it all.

Maybe it’s something to do with the simplicity of it

and how nothing ever seems as simple as back then.

It’s beautiful in the saddest fashion,

how I will never again relive those memories,

and every day they’ll fade more

until I hardly remember them at all.

Empty

“What happens now?”

“You can go.”

Where was I supposed to go? We were sitting in his car, in a parking lot miles from my house. I didn’t move. I couldn’t remember how to. I wasn’t sure I had control over my body anymore.

He shifted into drive and brought me home. The drive was just a few miles, but it felt cross-country. We sat in silence the whole way. The radio had been playing quietly, but he shut it off without saying a word.

“Ok.” He said softly, barely audible.

I opened my mouth to speak, but found no words. Nodding, I left.

(not) rock bottom

I exhaled and found myself

twelve feet deep,

surrounded by seaweed and crabs.

They say not to sink too low,

but if means I can breathe again,

I’d find Atlantis in the abyss.

I’m sitting on the ocean floor,

not too deep that I’ll drown

just enough to feel the waves pull me around.

I’d kill to feel anything these days,

a little clarity is all I ask.

They told me I need to cleanse my soul

so, I sank to the sandy floor.

Now I can’t breathe or think,

and time is running out.

This isn’t where I wanted to be at 21,

drowning in stress and loneliness.

I feel the seaweed wrap around my legs,

tighter every second

until I accept defeat.

This isn’t rock bottom,

but I can’t sink any lower.

Summer Nostalgia

I live by the beach, on the little peninsula of eastern Massachusetts known as Cape Cod. I have mixed feelings about living here; it’s expensive, summers are hectic and infested with tourists, winters are slow and dull. I’m not a huge fan of the beach, either, but the other night I was driving home from work, windows down since it’s finally warm enough for that, and I smelled the salt water marsh. It brought back a flood of memories and an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia.

I’ve been dreaming about moving off cape for years now; it’s not exactly plausible, but it’s a dream of mine. But when I smelled the salt water, a part of me hesitated. I vividly remembered sitting on a towel on the crowded beach as a child. I remembered playing in the hot sand, picking up handfuls of it and letting it soothingly, slowly trickle off my hands and back onto the beach. I remembered the smell of the ocean, the salty air, taking that first step on the beach in my flip flops. The sand tough to walk on, so I quickly slip my shoes off and feel the hot sand on my bare feet, my brother and I running to an open spot, perfect for us to put our blankets down on.

I reminisced on the hot beating summer sun, soothed only by the winds that come and go. Laying out in the sun until we were sweating, bored, and needed to cool down in the ocean. Taking that first dip in the water, finally cool. Crouching down in the knee-deep water so as to submerge ourselves in the water as soon as possible, holding our heads just above the water as we crawl deeper into the ocean. Finally, we can stand comfortably in shoulder-deep water, laughing and splashing each other.

We’d plug our noses and dip our heads under the water for as long as we can, holding a contest for who can stay under longer. My brother shows me how he can do a flip under the water, and I show him I can do a handstand. Our mom tells us to be careful. We laugh and play for a while, until our hands get wrinkly and our stomachs are rumbling for lunch.

Lost in daydreams of my childhood, I came back to real life and realized I had already driven all the way home. I shook my head at the fact that one smell can bring back memories I haven’t thought about in years. Sure, I still want to move off cape, and I think more seriously about it every day, but I’d be lying if I said I won’t miss it. I’ve lived here my whole life, my entire childhood was spent on the beach, baseball fields, the bike path, and my own backyard. When I leave, I’ll be leaving all these memories. Though I don’t have set in stone plans to move any time soon, I’ve been extra nostalgic lately as I drive down the streets I know by heart, worrying someday I might forget them.

Someday, I’ll be coming back to visit my parents, after living somewhere else for years, and I might need directions to go to the grocery store that I currently go to on a weekly basis. I might not remember the name of the street the baseball fields I used to spend summers at. I might be reminiscing with a friend on our childhoods and I won’t be able to remember the name of that park we had so many picnics at, the one that was a dog park for a week a few years ago. We brought our dog Lily there and she made so many friends that week. What if I forget that even happened?

I get that it’s a part of moving on, growing up, I know I’ll make more memories wherever I move, and I’ll know those streets like I know these ones, I just can’t help but feel nostalgic. All these memories made me into the person I am today, part of me worries I’ll lose the childlike wonder I still have if I move away and forget my past.

Let the flowers grow

Let flowers grow inside you

in places you once thought 

could never see life again.

Let the emptiness inside your chest

be the soil that nourishes new life.

Let the earth take over 

fill sadness with hopefulness.

Bury your feet in the dirt

and know you’ll be fine.

Just because you feel alone

doesn’t mean you are.

They left you hollow and lost

but just because you’re empty now

doesn’t mean new life can’t grow.

Summer mornings.

Hot dewy air,

fresh cut lawns,

birds chirping,

hopeful breezes,

unsure what today will bring

but it rained over night

and the humidity finally broke,

so maybe it’ll be a good one.

 

Sipping coffee outside,

groggily making plans.

Trees green and lush,

flowing in the gentle breeze.

Taking in the moment,

remember this feeling.

 

Winter is soon,

these trees will be white,

the breeze brutal.

No more sitting outside in the morning,

waking up and feeling whole,

so remember how good it feels.

The Grand Canyon (Part 2)

Our friend came out to us last night,

in an emotional speech surrounded by loved ones.

We were still on the road,

now in Nebraska.

She FaceTimed us and told us she was trans.

She had her friends over,

the moment felt right.

I wished I could’ve hugged her.

You and I talked about gender and sexuality for a while

well after the call ended.

I learned you once contemplated not being cis.

I did too, back in high school.

I told you I loved that we were still learning about each other.

You smiled and agreed.

We were on the road,

on a street we’d never seen,

in a car you only bought a month ago,

but I couldn’t have felt more at home.

Spring Sadness

It was the middle of spring,

Birds were singing, flowers in bloom.

I should’ve been happy,

Why wasn’t I happy?

Everything lush with color,

Everyone chipper and chatty.

Why couldn’t that be me?

What was holding me back

From enjoying spring to the fullest?

Could it be I’m just not over my depression?

Or is there something getting me down?

Winter seemed to breeze by,

I was sure I was over being depressed.

But now that the sun is shining,

And the air is warm,

I can’t help but wish I was someone else.

I daydream of running away,

Starting a new life with a new mentality.

It feels like I’m in so deep,

There’s no escape but to restart.

 

You’d think I’d know by now,

Running away only causes more problems.

Starting over only gets me so far

Because all my problems follow

And soon enough I’ll be in the same position

In a different location,

Daydreaming about running away again.

Grand Canyon (Part 1) a road trip we’d never forget

I didn’t eat breakfast.

You tell me, climbing into my car.

Don’t worry,

I respond,

We can stop at Dunkin’.

You smile.

It’s still early,

The sun hasn’t yet risen.

We’re early, too,

We could stop at the beach,

And watch the sunrise.

First, you need breakfast.

I pull into the drive-thru,

I order you a sandwich,

You don’t have to tell me what you want,

I know what you always get.

I order us both coffees, too.

We’re going to need it today.

 

We’ve got a long day ahead of us,

First you have the dentist,

Then I have therapy.

Then, we’re driving across the country.

We’ve saved money,

Calculated the hours it’ll take-

37, with no traffic.

We packed our bags,

Got the time off work,

Found a place to stay.

We’re staying with my friend,

He lives a half hour from the Grand Canyon,

And we’ve always wanted to visit.

He moved to Arizona two years ago,

We’ve hardly seen him since,

Never to visit him,

He’s only come back up to the northeast.

He introduced us to each other,

So we owe him this trip.

 

I’ve known him since high school,

You two met through mutual friends.

I was surprised we had never met,

We frequented a lot of the same places.

When he introduced me to you,

I knew right then.

 

We met a week before our friend moved away.

For a while that was all we talked about.

That grew into how we met our friend,

Which grew into discussions of high school and college,

Which turned into stories of high school and college,

Which turned into our hobbies,

Of which we had many in common,

Which turned into me showing you my favorite show,

Then you showed me yours,

And two years later,

We’re on a road trip to celebrate our anniversary.

 

I paid for our breakfast,

And drove us to the beach.

I made sure to go to one that faces the sunrise.

I’ve made that mistake before.

We ate our breakfast

while our favorite songs played through the speakers.

I was reminded of past dates,

Sitting in this exact spot,

Eating take-out and laughing at each other’s jokes.

I smiled blissfully at the thought,

knowing fully there were more of those moments to come.