The past beats inside me like a second heart. ~John Banville
In my dreaming mind, birth is still within arms reach when I suckled mama’s titties. A blind, fleshy lump driven to the nipple by instinctual feel. Instinct woven into the genes of all mammals needing sustenance from mommy the instant passage was complete. It seems like this morning, but a long time ago it was noon.
Today is pancake day. We are served a different cooked breakfast every day but Friday. Friday is fend for ourselves day when I devoured multiple bowls of artificially colored, artificially flavored, sugar laden flakes and marshmallows soaked in cold milk. On Mondays we ate bacon accompanied eggs with one bacon per egg and a maximum of two eggs. Tuesdays was french toast. Wednesday equaled waffles. And Thursday was all the silver dollar pancakes we could consume. I routinely had eighteen smothered in melted butter. I hunger for those lost moments but a long time ago it was noon.
I sit in school in my navy blue trousers, navy blue tie, powder blue shirt and black dress shoes. The girls, the ones that made me sweat when we held hands during a fire drill wore plaid skirts, white blouses and a red tie. The most beautiful was a slender blond, buxom for her age with a mesmerizing, crooked tooth smile. I loved her for years yet we nary exchanged a word. She was the first and last blond that ever captured my heart. I reach back in dreams but can’t touch her because a long time ago it was noon.
We, the soccer players at third lunch period, always sit together, at the same table, in the same seats. Ritual. Superstition. Lucky seats. Most of those lunches were greasy french fries liberally doused in catsup. A meal, if it were consumed today, would cling to the arteries and swell the bellies. Soccer practice and games consumed more than the calories eaten. I would like to go back and play again, one more game with my High School teammates, one more game on the green field, one more time reliving my glory days. But my knees are shadows of their youth and a long time ago it was noon.
Three children by the time I am thirty leading to years of laughter and tears and long meandering conversations exploring the nuances of life. Friends come and go. Some linger longer than others staying long enough that they feel like family. The door is always open and many cross the threshold. Grilled food is stuffed into hungry bellies and, when they were almost 21, wine and beer are sipped at leisure the liquids dancing in the glow of the fire light. Flashback – they munch on live cicadas, gag as insect legs grabbed lips while being chewed. I would love to experience one more BBQ in the backyard, one those evenings changing into night becoming tomorrow morning. One more delicious meal with kids and significant others and grandkids and friends. But we no longer live together, we are are dispersed and a long time ago it was noon.
Was it love at first sight? I still see her silhouette walking into the restaurant for our first date. Long, dark hair, lithe figure, tight jeans, tight ass. She took off her sunglasses and she smiled. I smiled. If not love at first sight, the transition from lust to loved happened more quickly than expected and has never abated. We shared a meal of Ethiopian food, delicious food ate with our hands and talked and talked and talked and smiled. We hugged by the car not wanting to part but I had places to go. This, too, seems like yesterday but it was six years ago and a long time ago it was noon.
Where did time go? My memories feel close enough to be touched, vivid as though they happened yesterday but a long time ago it was noon and now it’s approaching midnight.