You know that feeling where an intense rush of memories can wash over you and give you a sense of absolute nostalgia? It’s the jolt feeling you get when you turn the shower head on and a wave of warmth cleanses your body. It demands to be felt. It can sometimes come at the most unexpected times when you pick up a piece of an old memory that may belong in the past but is now being forced into you present. A smell of an old perfume you used to put on every single day. A taste of a memorable dish that you haven’t had since you were a child. The very first moment of pure love you feel for a person when you catch a slight glimpse of their soul as they laugh. I haven’t felt this in a long time, and I never thought I would again, but here it is. Nostalgia is powerful, because it reminds us of what we may have forgotten – what we may have dropped and no longer needed or what still has our etched fingernail marks to remind us of that past desperation not to let go. It’s beautiful and important, as failing to reflect on our past will never allow us to fully learn and not make those same mistakes again.
Lemonade was dropped, but the tiny imprints of my greedy mini hands are still a signature on the glass cups with carved stars. I may not have needed the lemonade anymore, but I know that I was never quite ready to let it go. Are you ever ready to say goodbye to someone you love? Lemonade is my nostalgic rush. I see a large, perfectly square manicured green lawn that was perfect for a pool, but was obviously reserved for sprinting to the fence and back. I see a redwood stained picnic table that was never empty, where I happily enjoyed peeling the tearing paint off, pausing to look up at my grandmother through squinty eyes and shaggy blonde bangs. Most of all I remember the lemonade; sweet, tart, and tasting of summers that could never be long enough.
I can remember her the best this way. Through watching the classic Disney dog movies that she never seemed to have a problem watching just one more time. Through sitting in my grandpa’s old chair, still giving me that uncomfortable yet soothing feeling of fabric on bare legs that may leave a burn if you get up too fast. Through eating spaghetti with the thick linguine noodles, Hunt’s tomato sauce, and the cheese that was not grated but spun into little curly cues like the hair on my small head. I remember the lemonade. The sweetness that seemed to be bitter at the same time, just as my grandma’s death seemed to be written and signed off on by my grandma herself before she passed. All that I’m left with is that familiar, slight bitterness in my mouth as I realize that my nostalgia is the closest that I will ever come again to picking the paint off that shaky, red picnic table with the sun too hot, yard too big, and heart too full.