Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Nostalgia beats gaslighting

It wasn’t the single-family happy to go out for a fancy expensive Sunday brunch after church pancakes and mimosas and Bloody Marys with an entire fried chicken as a garnish you remember from the popular TV shows and social media.

It was a diner in a bad neighborhood that smelled like greasy fried potatoes topped with chili and tomatoes, melted American cheese, both crispy bacon AND ham. It was sitting close together in booths while other people waited for a table and tired waitresses on their fourth double shift in a week in the middle of the night after you’d been out to a smoky dance club and you just needed that fat and carbs. It was laughing and thinking of how tired you’d be in the morning at work but not caring because you were young. It was a waitress who called you "hun" and frowned when you put in your order. But who you tipped well anyway.

It was the middle of a Florida military tourist town chock full of fifties-era beat up brick ranch houses in our run-down rental area and it was needing a better landlord but not getting one. It was no central air conditioner. It was sand fleas next door and a kitten that disappeared in the middle of the day, probably stolen by a neighbor. Neighbors who stomped around their upper floor aggressively.

It was a neighborhood of old Victorian houses gentrified and wealthy right down the street from one of the most poverty stricken ones in town. It was a landlord who tried to bully you at every chance he got, who lied to get the police to come into your apartment when you weren't there.

It was potholed and tall pine tree lined streets, not like the towns I saw on TV where everyone had a dad and a weekend family dinner table with some kind of nice meal and family talking about their days, sharing happy memories, family with a mom AND a dad, sisters AND brothers, and people genuinely caring about the question “how was your day?” 

It meant walking for hours with a sister in the middle of the night because we didn't have a car. It meant doing all those things together that we never did again, surviving the unspeakable. Until that day when one of us didn't survive it.

And I'll be damned if I don't miss it in some ways. And would never want it back again in others.

It was truly complicated.

No comments:

Post a Comment