Backwards and forwards

In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d ever type) ”Start wide, expand further, never look back.” I always was too wide, and, I’m trying very hard not to expand any further. However I’m not so sure he’s right about looking back, being a bad thing. It’s impossible not to glance over your shoulder when you know you’re missing the good times that went before.

I was contentedly spreading my sourdough toast with marmalade this morning when my phone went with a ping. Technology is a marvellous thing but I think Steve Jobs forgot to build in the sensitivity chip when he designed the iPhone. It had inexplicably created a memory for me, just like that, as if I didn’t own enough of my own – and this one made with no input from my own brain. Up popped a series of photographs taken of Guido from the last carefree holiday we had on Majorca, 3 years ago, just before all hell broke loose. Staring up at me. At the farmhouse door. Playing with Cabot the dog. On the beach with a frisbee. Raising his wine glass in motion, toasting me with that smile. All of them spun along to music. Just like in a feel good movie.

Yet, I don’t need to play it on loop. You see, it’s already there. Not on the iPhone, but forever in my head. Thousands of memories without the album of pictures to back them up. All of them unique to me and him and now helped along by his spectacles in a drawer, his old hairbrush in the bathroom cabinet, a random and masochistic spray from his bottle of cologne every morning. It’s like he’s just left the room, and not come back in yet. Hovering at the bedroom door and just out of sight. The unexpected fingerprints left behind by someone in my past, yet still so powerfully here. It’s the past that makes you the person who you really are. Looking backwards brings forwards to the here and now the memories you never want to leave behind.

So, once in a while I shall look over my shoulder and remember, because thinking of Guido often, helps me to keep him alive. And that’s got to be a good thing.

7 thoughts on “Backwards and forwards

  1. For me, at 70, I’m less interested in looking back. I had a health scare recently. As did my best friend. Bit of a kick in the pants, you could say, and a reminder that there won’t be an unlimited number of here-and-nows.


  2. That was beautiful, JP.
    I, too, have had those experiences looking back after people in my life had passed. It’s almost as if they are still here, and I like to think they are, as you said, in an old hairbrush and a hint of cologne.
    One of the reasons I wanted to buy the house we live in now is because the day the relator showed it to me, I saw my mother sitting in the kitchen, drinking her morning coffee, smoking a cigarette, and staring into the backyard.
    It was like she was waiting for me to find the right house.


  3. I’m so glad to hear your back. You were always a warm welcome and bright spot in the blogosphere. A little bird told me you were back. And nothing wrong with looking back and keeping loved ones passed on alive. They will always be with us. Heck, even when bloggers have stopped blogging, I still think back on them. We were at my uncles for dinner the other night, and he still has my Aunt’s hairbrush, Chanel 5 and matching body lotion, and her lipstick tube on the sink where she always kept it. And her eye glasses still sit on the kitchen counter with her favorite Julia Child cookbook.. He says it’s like she is still there.

    Nothing wrong with that.


  4. Poor Arnold. He went zero for three on this one.

    You are not kidding about the sensitivity chip. I have read stories about Facebook doing much the same thing with its “memories” feature.


  5. Never looking back on decisions you’ve made…maybe. Second guessing yourself is rarely helpful.
    But never looking back on people who’ve been part of your life? Impossible.


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