Essay: “Blue Jay” and the longing of a past love

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saudade (noun) – a nostalgic longing to be near again to something or someone that is distant, or has been loved and then lost; “the love that remains

Nobody follows us on our journey forever. Even those people we think will stay by our side forever will leave us at some point. No matter how much we try to convince ourselves otherwise. Especially in our teenage years, infinity feels so long. We don’t know yet what life has in store for us and on which path it will send us. For us, the only thing that exists is the now. A now in which homework is our biggest worry, we dream of being the most famous rapper in the world one day, or looking up at the starry sky in a truck with our favorite person, and our love it has no more limit than the stars on the horizon.

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But that was then. Something happened besides all the beautiful moments that we lost that confidence, as much as that person who once meant everything. So we start a new life far away from our little hometown and think to be happy with it. Until we return. And time suddenly stands still once again. In the end, nostalgia means nothing more than the pain of an old wound. It is a feeling in the heart that is much stronger than memory alone – a feeling for a place we long to return to. A person who reminds us of that feeling. We keep returning to old feelings for the same reason, because the comfort in the words is familiar, even though we know the ending.

Our mistakes and opportunities not taken, affect the version of ourselves we have become today. Especially at a young age, love is a construct for us that we can’t quite grasp; an overwhelming majesty that stands above us and our counterpart. We sometimes act out of desperation differently than we actually want to, for the simple reason that we are too overwhelmed by the gravitas and that which could blossom from this love. And thus we usually hurt not only ourselves, but also the person who means more to us than anything else.

High school sweethearts become strangers who reunite after more than twenty years and have to confront the reality that the world around them has already moved on, but the unspoken words that lie between them still lie in an old box among locked letters and old mix tapes. Behind all the small talk and jokes made about before, hidden in their mannerisms and inside jokes, however, there is usually something deeper lurking. Trauma and pain that has been swallowed and not spoken since a breakup. Repressed by the new players in their own universes, by everyday life and also by their own conscience itself. The more we try to swallow these feelings, the more they eat us up from the inside, no matter how much we have persuaded our head that a years-old wound has long since healed. But as soon as we look into that one person’s eyes, we know we’ve reluctantly told ourselves that lie.

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Occasionally we just need to step forward and go down memory lane; not because we can change situations from back then in hindsight, but to feel those feelings a second time. True love is timeless; it cuts to the core and crushes you; just as much as it gives you the air to breathe. Through it everything will change and at the same time some things will remain the same even after decades.

Sometimes two actors and a single day are enough to find out what the past meant. Maybe this love was only temporary, maybe it came at the wrong time, too early, too late or maybe it was too strong to last forever. There are situations where you just have to find out if the moments you remember still feel exactly the same. Simply because the things you do today could affect you tomorrow.

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