Wistful Things

I don't choose to be wistful, but sometimes I have to be. Sometimes I feel like yelling out I'm sorry, hoping the air will forgive me. Sometimes I want to run off into the dark basement room, the bomb shelter from life, and sit burrowed in a corner: rocking, huddling myself, reminding me that it's okay. It's okay.

These wistful memories aren't solely bad news. Not nightmarishly hideous past situations that would torment even the most un-tempermental soul. Those memories have already been blacked out. These wistful memories are those of little gentle reminders of what could have been, if the sidewalk had been two feet shorter, your shoelaces untied and the breakfast burrito you just had didn't weigh you down so much.

These are as common as breathing, at least to those who count their breathes religiously, lest they miss one and be forced to start all over again. They are tiny sometimes, like one of the forgettable walks to grab the morning paper. Others are bigger, the gasps you take in the surprise of the moment: "I didn't know there was going to be anyone coming out of that cake!" They color from pink to red. An embarrassed look away after staring at that person's face just a second too long. To the crimson shame of being told that yes, she knew you liked her, and yes, she would have said yes had you asked. Had you, only just, if it had been, just right.

These are wistful memories after all. The resulting noise of an unoccupied mind. Given the opportunity, the mood, the weather, you could easily fall back into thse puddles of life you've already stepped on. Like falling back into bad habits. You don't know you're doing it till you're already there, feet soaking wet.

These things come to you with the sincerity that they offer up a lesson in life. They come by to remind you to take chances, live in the moment, seize the day, take over the world. These things are liars. Their purpose is to torment you, the flies in your mind buzzing in captivity. The reason they exist is the reason photography and VHS exists; some may say it is to capture art and "precious memories", but really it is just a cheap way to recall the episodes of your life best forgotten.

These wistful memories are your own personal "America's Most Funniest Home Videos". And they're not any funnier either.

The jokes no one wants retold. The same scolding your mom still gives, even twenty years later. The lame stories your friends tell that make you wish your life had a rewind button and some white-out.

These wistful memories have to go.

Like counting your breathes they mean nothing. They're there whether you acknowledge them or not, and there are always more on the way. (Unless you're dying. Then you take whatever memories you can get) They don't have to be remembered. Just let them go. Think of something else, be as busy as you can be.

Because when these memories come they make us stop. And once we're stopped we think of these past things. We relive, and we are in the past again. These memories bring us back to who we were, just as these forgettable things occured. No one wants that. No one was better than they are now. And if they are, then they're thinking of good memories, so to them, feel free to wist-away. But for the rest of us: just don't go there.

There are enough wist-possible things that can happen right now. Deal with them. Let these memories rest once and for all.

Be like the ones that breathe and don't even know they are. They're the ones who probably have something better going on in their minds.


Don Bernal
Nothing better going on in my mind

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