Smelling an old scent is proven to be the strongest trigger of long-forgotten memories and ardent nostalgia. I keep my old perfume bottles tucked away in my cupboard for this very reason; when I dig them up again, they’ll be able to take me back to the various seasons of my life. In a sense, I do the same thing with songs: I hide them away in the corners of playlists so when they come up on shuffle, I can time travel.
In my previous post, I hinted at the idea that I’d share some of the memories the songs in my 2018 Top 100 playlist provoked. The following piece of prose does just that.
A year after the season described, I was listening to music when Another Sad Love Song by Khalid came up on shuffle. I was instantly sent eight months back, to the same feelings and experiences that had shaped my spring of 2017. The writing that resulted from this intense rush of nostalgia is somewhat vague, but it captures the volatile and vivid season I was in perfectly. Personally, I believe it’s one of the best, most heartfelt pieces I’ve created.
Putting too much detail into the events that unfolded around this time would do the prose an injustice. The beauty is in the fog, the uncertainty, only the clear song as a backing track and the hazy memories as the screenplay.
Without further ado…
Everything Fell Apart In Spring, And Yet We Still Grew
I have an intense nostalgia for an impromptu birthday sleepover – overdosing on marshmallows and good music and silly videos – ; the mad days of switching a light on and off whilst the spark stayed lit – I love you but I can’t have you -; dark stripes and cat faces and stupid midday decisions; buffalo checks and high-waisted bikinis; shorts and sunglasses and cutting a fringe out of curiosity and spite. Secrets and sharing too much and breaking bonds that only end thick as thieves. A time that my mind remembers hazily, almost intoxicated on emotion, pretending I know what I’m doing and knowing full well I’m pretending. Trusting people and sleepless nights and heartbreak and heartache and kissing the same lips I was forbidden to in dark classrooms and empty corridors without explanation but because it feels right. The long texts and the days of silence and giving up and giving in; the spinning myself into nauseating dizziness just for the split second of dark forgiving silence. Running away and making plans to run away only to be brought back – by responsibility and raging sisters. Being brought to my senses with a slap in the face, but still wearing my façade of incomprehension. The power of friendship, the power of love, as cliché as it sounds, learning that it’s true and real and important. Finding my feet after weeks of floating; finding my head after weeks of confusion. Settling dust and not fully knowing how the explosion came to be. Digging through ash and wondering when you stopped burning. Breathing again and being relieved you’re not drowning. Feeling sad, feeling lonely, hating weekends and needing the break. Lorde remixes and knowing all the words from memory – from my memories -; the way heartbreak is beautiful and painful and ugly and sweet; the bitterness of the word sweet. Earphones on full blast and hyperventilating at the sight of someone and adrenaline coursing through my bones until my legs turn to jelly and my lungs are devoid of air. Hallelujah and aching and voice notes and sunshine – sunburn – and feeling comatose. Rumours from one source, blind belief and betrayal. Reckless carelessness, caring too much. Blurring the boundary between day and night – insomnia, over-thinking, twilight hour revelations. Stress headaches and napping in the middle of conversations and trying to breathe in sync. Metaphors and swimming at sunset and making playlists with obscure names. Fairy lights and riddles and renaming a contact five times on your phone because everything is so confusing. Saying yes. Saying no. Saying you don’t know. Working late into the night, smelling of chlorine and crying because you’re so close to a deadline and yet so far and everything feels unattainable but you’re still pushing because giving up was never an option and never even a thought. Learning about myself, learning about my friends, learning about people and how minds work and that some things are just unexplainable. Wishing for simpler times but wishing these times would never end. What is this?