Memories. They really are amazing little things. They can lift you up, right out of the place where you are and like a magical time machine, transport you into someplace else at some other time. All it takes is a sight, a sound, or scent. Sometimes they pick you up and take you back to the happier carefree days of youth, when you would swing on the swing set and listen to the sound of wind chimes. That sound still brings me back to my time growing up when I would hear the wind rustle through them, making them sing from the porch, as I played without a care in the world. It's not often as adults that we have the opportunity to live so free from the realities of the world around us, but memories have the power to free us.
Still, at times, the memories bring back thoughts that might better be forgotten. Yesterday, I drove through a neighborhood that I used to see everyday, but now rarely. I took the same route from my apartment that I took very nearly every day for over a year. The memories didn't flood back over me until I made the left turn that took me away from the other places that I take the route too. I could have gone this way dozens of times in the last four months to get here or there, but I avoided it. Last night, I was sure that it would mean nothing to me. I was wrong.
Seeing those familiar places... the market, the Starbucks, the Cold Stone, the Baskin Robbins, the McDonald's, the restaurant, the pizza place. It all brought back a thousand memories. They are powerful things; they break down the walls that you build inside of yourself and expose you to the raw emotion that you've moved past in your daily life. They remind you of a time when all seemed right in the world and nothing could take you from what you were sure was your destiny. They put you right back into that place and let you see just how wrong you were about things. Of course, the memories are mostly happy: the late night walks to Starbucks holding hands, the walk back and forth on a warm day for the shared Apple Pie a la Mode (with Sinless Sweet Cream, of course), the stolen kiss waiting for the light to change.
Those places become forever a part of who you are and part of the fabric of your very being. From now until I die, those places will always be associated with those times, those moments, those memories. Though I have moved on and placed it behind me, I cannot deny that a song on the radio, a sight in the city, or the scent of a certain perfume brings me back to a time before. Now, I just look out on the world and search out someone new to make more memories that will last a lifetime.