It's kind of irritating, this free-floating haze of nostalgia that forms whenever I come back from being away. It's not even centered on the days in question, but rather it's as if some kind of memory switch has been jolted, and everything I see triggers some faraway thought of places been and people seen.
* * *
My car keys dangle from a keychain that's a miniature London Underground tube stop for Covent Garden. When I see it, I think of Lush and Cafe Mode and French Connection. I think of buying two pairs of shoes, and walking over to Windle, where I know Andrea is working, and showing them off. I think of sipping a cappuccino and listening to a quartet playing Bolero for pence in a hat. I gave them a pound, because I love Bolero. Then I gave them another pound because one of the guys playing violin was hot.
* * *
Every morning, while I'm taking out new socks and lingerie, I catch a glimpse of a picture on top of my bureau, of me and Mandy and Hamlet, in Washington D.C. We're posed on the... you know, the thingie, where they stood? On Star Trek? And said, "Beam me up, Scottie"? What's that called? With the little round things you stand on? The beamy whatsit? Anyway, Mandy had draped herself over the cut-out of Kirk, and Hamlet is groping Spock in his bad place, and I'm standing in the middle, smiling and staring into the camera, motioning to the madness of the other two. I was seventeen, and on a school-trip to somebody else's nation's capital. We'd been to the FBI building, and driven past the White House, but all I wanted to see was Fonzie's jacket at one of the Smithsonianís. Like normal people, everyone else had worn jeans and trainers, while I had on a pleated red and black tartan miniskirt and a red sweater, and I was freezing, because it was March and windy and miserable. But then, the girl in the Body Shop in Georgetown said, "I love what you're wearing" and I remember being flattered and deciding that it was all worth it. What's more, I recall looking with teenage disdain at the comfort of my friends, and vowed to always travel in put-together fashion. Thirteen years, many cute shoes, and lots of blisters later, I wonder, "Is it really worth it?" And then, I slap on another band-aid, decide that it really is, and go about picking a sweater to match my luggage.
* * *
There is a rather garish coffee cup in my cupboard, emblazoned with sexy Elvis. I think he's dressed all in black leather, which would make it the '68 Vegas comeback show, if I'm not mistaken. The mug was brought to me from Tennessee, home of someone who was, for a brief time, a friend of mine. Curtiss was difficult and pissy in the best of times. He liked to think he had good manners, but my sense of propriety cringed at his lack of etiquette on most days. Still, I enjoyed being like the puppy that bounced around him and forced him to smile. His smile was gorgeous, and turned his bookish, pale face into something friendly and fun. There was always a sense of triumph that came with teasing him out of his many, many moods. Truth be told, I annoyed that living crap out of him, and eventually he got tired of me, and our friendship died. Its years later that I'm able to look back and realize that most of the time, he was a rude son of a bitch, and I'm better off without him. I use the mug though, and while Iím sipping my morning coffee, I like to think that heís still living in Memphis. Curtiss can't stand Elvis, you see.
* * *
Memories are weird, arenít they? You never know what's going to float to the top.
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