Ghostly melancholy


My parents are here visiting, and they brought me a box of old photos and letters that I had left at their house before I left on my world tour in 2006. I was hoping to find some photos of my friend Andrew to take up to Toronto next week when I go, so I had asked them for it. I wasn’t at all prepared for the wave of nostalgia that would confront me when going through all of this. I found, in addition to hundreds of photos covering roughly 1988 to 2005, a ton of old letters of all sorts: Letters from family members, old boyfriends (and girlfriends), postcards, thank you notes, old administrative copies. Some of these things made me queasy with sensations both familiar and foreign all at the same time. I came across things that made me marvel at how young we all were. I saw things that I hadn’t any recollection of at all. I came across many items connected to people I am no longer in touch with and don’t know why. I saw photos that were lovely and some that made me cringe.

I decided to sort them into piles roughly by place: Paris here, San Francisco there, LA, New York, road trips of all sorts. And in and among these, I started to come across a few of Andrew. I stared at them each for a few moments longer than the rest. As I finally made my way through the entire pile, I wondered why I didn’t have any of Andrew and I together in the same photo. Some of them I had taken, some our friend Karin had sent me. But it made me a little sad that there weren’t any of us in the same frame. As if to put a point on our long distance friendship and the fact that now we never would take one together. I also found some photos of the apartment we shared on Rue Damrémont and I will take those and the others along to Toronto to share with Shaan and Andrew’s friends.  I am left with a ghostly melancholy from all of this, and a sense of the rapid passage of time, things slipping away, never to be captured anew.