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.