Yesterday felt like a melding of the past and the present leading me into what will be my new future. People, places, scents, and visuals provided a backdrop of swirling memories and dreams colliding, creating new memories holding my hand as I let the past go and breathed in the present while allowing the picture of my future to come into focus as much as it can with all of its ambiguity and shrouded surprises.
I started the day in my downstairs neighbors’ backyard. I got to meet my new neighbors, some people who live on my block, and a random hodge podge of Brooklynites. The lone vegetarian at that gathering was very glad to have a cohort. Everyone was friendly, laid back, and glad to meet the new neighbor. Sometimes I feel like I live on Sesame Street, there are trees and brownstones with various characters sitting on the stoops at various times of the day and night, and for the most part everyone is friendly with a story to share. This is of course the rosy, everything is great picture…let’s just linger there for now.
I ended my day at my friend’s apartment on the Upper West Side. She lives on the 41st floor of her building with unobstructed views of the fireworks from her balcony and dining room windows. I was surrounded by a different crowd, a different vibe, I was back in Manhattan. While I thoroughly enjoyed the company I was surrounded by I kept feeling twinges of longing to be back in Brooklyn. I was standing next to my friend’s 80-year-old friend during the fireworks. I have heard all about her and her husband for years, but had not met them until that evening. She told me stories about how she and her husband had given their two girls unusual names as well. She told me stories about going to Macy’s with her mother during WWII to send packages to her brother, fighting the war, in Europe. She shared stories of traveling around the world and all the places she and her husband had seen fireworks displays. And in the silence, leaning against the balcony railing, watching the beautiful explosion of lights and colors before us, I noticed her scent. She smelled just as I remember my granny smelling. I was transported to a different time and place. I felt sad, comforted, and more at ease than I have in a very long time standing next to this older woman I barely know, but felt so intimately connected to. I could not describe the scent if I tried. It is faint. A facial cream? A hair product? I’m not quite sure and I sort of like the subtlety and indescribable quality of the scent. They say smell is the sense most closely connected to memory. A scent carried me to my past, allowed me to enjoy the present, and reminded me that I still have a future on the horizon.