Yesterday, I walked by the spot of my first kiss for the first time in a couple of years. The spot looked exactly as it did except with summer blooming all around it, and construction down the street polluting what I think of as a quit, romantic little corner of the world with unnecessary noise and the scent of shiny tar.
He doesn’t live there anymore. Beyond those double glass and iron gates into the complex was what was then, a really truly magical and significant moment in my life that’s gone forever, melted away with a freak spring snowfall eight years ago. So much has happened since then. But walking by that spot feels like nothing has changed; that I still live in this neighbourhood. That this is still my place, that it’s still my best friends’ place just down the street, and that he still lives there and by walking by there I might risk running into him and then we’d have to find some way to say hi to one another and pretend that we’re just old friends from some undergrad class.
Your first love, the formative years of your twenties, your ex-best friends, your former neighbourhood, that apartment with the view, that coffee shop that turned into a Chinese restaurant, which turned into a bubble tea bar, which turned back into a coffee shop that’s a shade of what it was back in those happy years when I’d meet my friends there almost every night, are all gone. It occurred to me yesterday that I don’t know a single person who lives there anymore. I don’t know any undergraduate students anymore. I don’t know of any reason why anyone would come back to re-live all these mixed up memories except to wait for a dental appointment that you took a day off to attend and be frozen and scraped at and prodded for nearly two hours. The world is different now. The new one is good too, but different. And the old one seems lifetimes away.
I walked past that spot and remembered that kiss and then I moved on and went home and I was okay. Things are okay now.