I could use a bus ride now. I would stand in front of Interview and talk to friends passing by. I would recollect how it was the place both where I saw my first love for the last time and where I said goodbye to one of my best friends before he emigrated to Canada. I would get on the bus to Diekirch, drive away through forests and leave urban life behind. I would remember how a friendship formed on that bus. I would think of the girl I love and dream of what life could be. I would listen to Sophia and reminisce what it was like when I first heard the band. I would watch the memento in front of my inner eye and smile. I would feel comfortable that the next good times are waiting around the corner. I would try to figure out how I could get around the corner. I would recollect that decisive Christmas holiday when all that mattered were earrings bought for the wrong person.
Somewhere in between the regret of the past, the shiftlessness of the present and the fear of the future life is lost. The present is the past in the blink of an eye and the future only the next yesteryear. The more desperately you want to hold on to any moment the quicker it disappears – vanishes into non-existence, leaving behind only a faint memory that will alter the truth into something different over time, prohibiting you from ever truly learning from it. The truth becomes a grain of sand falling through a riddle screen and is lost forever on the vast shore of alternatives.
Sounds, touches, smells – a constant change meant to make a permanent difference but failing to do so time and again. Life in slow motion fast-forwarded. Sometimes we think we realize all the details but there’s always something we miss, something we forget. Memories – the mind’s way to remember a world that never was.
If that car crash in front of the bus in the middle of a forest between here and nowhere had never happened maybe I wouldn’t even remember the girl I love everytime I am on that bus. The day would have been an ordinary one except for those earrings. Perhaps I wouldn’t wonder if I’m only holding on to a past which is just that: a life that has never been and of which the potential took French leave many years ago. A yesterday that only exists in the construct of my memory. But that past is the only thing I know, whether it’s true or not. Ultimately its degree of accuracy will never matter; it’s a possibility among thousands and either way, as much as I desire it to, that past will never change the future. So, like a fool, I cherish it.
This post’s title, by the way, is a direct quotation from Marcel Proust’s “À côté de chez Swann” in “À la recherche du temps perdu”. The whole sentence is the following:
Ce goût, c’était celui du petit morceau de madeleine que le dimanche matin à Combray (parce que ce jour-là je ne sortais pas avant l’heure de la messe), quand j’allais lui dire bonjour dans sa chambre, ma tante Léonie m’offrait après l’avoir trempé dans son infusion de thé ou de tilleul.
Whoever hasn’t read it yet, go on. I confess I found it boring at first, but I wronged Proust.