Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Nostalgic and delighted

Looking through my old posts in social media has always left me feeling nostalgic, abashed, and annoyed at the same time. But this time, I found a new feeling- delight. Some of these old works are so old that reading through them feels like reading someone else's story. It feels like discovering the writer I was.

This one's my favorite:

I watch mother and father with a relish, they’re so in love. Or they were so in love. The fact that I’m in my childhood home in Connecticut with my happily-married-and-very-much-in-love parents in what looks like the year 1989(even though I am a 30-year old struggling journalist) doesn’t worry me as much as the dilemma of whether I should be talking as if this were the past or the present.
        Am I in the past? Since my previous experiences with time-travel are nil, I wouldn’t know. This is probably a hallucination; one I’m going to enjoy. Who doesn’t miss their childhood?
        “Did you hear the door open?” mom looked suspicious.
"I don’t know. Do you think it was the serial killer?" dad laughed and kissed her ever so lightly.
         I looked on guiltily from the doorway, it was I who had walked into the house so inconsiderately; but they didn’t even look that worried. Who were these people?
        As their light kisses and sideways smiles turned into a passionate makeout (I must admit that even if these were my parents, I was gushing. I’m a sucker for cute things), I headed up the stairs looking for the young Jo. What did she look like? Was she anything like I remembered her? (To avoid any confusion. I’m Big Jo, and she’s little Jo. Though, we’re technically the same person).
 Look away, baby, look away.
 Don’t look at me
I don’t want you to see me this way.
                    The lyrics floated into my head, and they gave me the much needed feeling of being in my comfort zone. This is literally my favorite song. Ever. Humming along, I strolled into the room like it was the most natural thing in the world. 
I don’t know what I was trying to achieve. Why would I have walked into a teenage girl’s room without introducing myself to her first? Why?
What I encountered when I walked into that room wasn’t just any ol’ monster you find under a bed, it was on a whole other level. 
                     ”Umm.. Jo? Hi,” I said to the remarkably skinny girl rocking out in front of the mirror. As I watched her dab ineffectually at her swinging hair, I felt a deeply strong desire to grab at my hair and pull it off. Seems like I still hadn’t forgiven my teenage hair.
                  “Who. Are. You?" she demanded rudely; strangely it felt like she was speaking in italics.
"I’m sorry; I shouldn’t have just walked in but-"
                   ”You’re right about that," she interrupted before I could finish. What really annoyed me was that she wouldn’t turn off her music. Chicago sang on and on; it seems like his tape was on repeat.
                  “I am,” I paused and gave her a peculiar look. Couldn’t she recognize me? ”you. In 20 years.”
She stared at me suspiciously for a full ten seconds (yes, I counted) before she opened her mouth.
               I knew what was coming next and shushed her immediately. I couldn’t have mom coming up here!
"No really. I’m not messing with, I swear," I say hurriedly lifting my now-long and intensely worked on hair to reveal the birth mark on my neck.
              She opened her mouth, then shut it. No one can argue that our London Eye birthmark was one of a kind.
       ”What the-” she began restlessly, and finally turned down the music “who are you? What do you want?”  
        “Nothing,” I said simply, “I just wanted to-” I hesitated.
I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t know how I got here. I don’t even know if  I got here. Is this a hallucination? I look into the deep green eyes which I’m so accustomed to seeing in the mirror and start.
          “It’s just a way for me to find myself,” I finish with a smile.
She looked doubtful, “so you have time-travel in the future?”
          Her confused look brought back memories; that was the same confused look I’d seen in my mothers big sunglasses as she’d told me that “mummy and daddy aren’t going to be together anymore.”
          “No actually,” I smiled at her and watched the distrust practically wash off of her face.
"You smile like me," she said, her voice was filled with wonder.
          I looked at her, and at the house around her. Everything has changed since I was 15 years old. Everything. I realize that only a few months from now my parents are going to break my -her- world apart.
Then suddenly my eyes open (metaphorically, they were open all this time), I know why I’m here! It’s all so clear now. I need to warn her, this poor creature who’s going to spend the rest of her life having daddy-issues. I need to make her strong today.
           ”Jo…listen,” I say urgently, now that I know what to say, I can’t say it fast enough, “Mum and dad are getting a divorce. They’re going to split up.”
           This time there was no vulnerable confused look on her face, she looked positively repulsed.
That’s when Mom walks in, and taking no notice of me whatsoever, she walked up to little Jo; she hadn’t even taken off her sunglasses.
          “Jo, baby, Mummy and Daddy aren’t going to be together anymore,” Mom spoke in a slow patronizing voice. Like I (she?) was a 5 years old. So I hadn't had a few months; I'd had a few minutes. 
         This time the look on both our faces wasn’t confusion but a different kind of pain. A kind of pain that troubles you even if you know what it can and cannot do to you. It’s the kind of pain you can control, but you just won’t.