As a new year begins and another one piles up in our used bucket, we search once more for new resolutions. Who are we kidding? These resolutions are rarely new, and even less lasting. Excited about a new beginning we promise to be wise and good. We plan a million fresh projects we will achieve in this young dynamic year. Let’s be honest, we’ll realise a week into this newborn 2016 that we’ll just be our old selves and that we already have our hands full. At least I know I will, so I’ll start by not making any new resolutions.
Instead, as I’m growing older, I decided to look back at my past with a nostalgic eye and count all the faces that I’ve met. So many people that have influenced the course of my life, as little as that might be. So many names I haven’t had the chance to speak in years because I’ve been too busy, too far, too proud, too lazy to keep in touch… because I’ve changed too much. I want to remember them because I fear I’m already starting to forget.
He has been a mentor and a friend. He has probably known me better than anyone. He helped me in a despairing moment one little note after another. We have the same enthusiasm for life and the same deep passion for the human nature, but our paths went different ways and now it’s always difficult to talk.
She was a friend a long time ago. We stuck together during a time that was good for me and bad for her. We counselled each other on our first teenage relationships. We also went out in what was at the time ‘the big city’ and believed to be adults already. Then our differences became too strong and living four hours apart was enough to loose contact.
And she reminds me of a whole group of people I used to hang out with. I even dated one of them for three long years. We were the usual group of friends, doing the usual things: parties, cinema, hanging out. Not much really, but they were the first group of people that made me feel accepted. After a break up and my registration at university I couldn’t find any more common ground. One of them I had known for a longer time. Then he started seeing a new girl and a number of discussions later he distanced himself from the group. It never was the same afterwards.
He used to be the boyfriend of my middle school best friend! She was my bridge into social relationships. Through her I understood the appeal of hanging out with people. I could even boast independence thanks to my scooter and my parents flexible rules. I also admired her success with the boys. I was always good at befriending them being a tomboy as I was, but I was starting to feel different about some of them and I wished I was more like her.
In my summer camp I met a girl that was more like me and a boy that intrigued me deeply. They were friends and we ended up a trio. I owe my rap knowledge to them, as well as a good deal of bad language and devious discoveries. She had cool parents, rebellious curly hairs, and a fiery character. I loved every moment we spent together and fell in love with the red headed guy I couldn’t understand. He wished my first kiss to a falling star on a Saint Lawrence night and I was happy to comply. He was also the first one to break my heart. I remember trying to keep in touch with both of them, but somehow that didn’t work out.
My first crush was a funny story. He used to force the whole catholic summer camp to watch Walker Texas Ranger every Tuesday evening on the only old TV in the barrack. I was probably the only one that looked forward to those minutes. I used to fantasise about him long after the camp finished although I never thought I would see him again. But I did, years later, a stroke of luck. It was his turn to have a crush on me, and I thought all my teenage fantasies were about to become reality. But he couldn’t beat years of daydreaming, and after letting my doubts cruelly toy with him, we went our separate ways and I never dared to contact him again.
Two strong girls inspired me during my last high school years. An organised and determined leader. She was our most involved delegate. Director of our school newspaper, she gave me my first opportunity to confront with other people that loved to write. The other one was, I hope she still is, a poet. Her words were music to my ears and her drama always satisfied my thirst for stories.
In middle school, there was a girl that joined us in our second year. She came from the capital and was therefore a stranger in our territory. I had always been treated like an outsider because of my parents so I could relate. We often played together and I really liked her strong accent. We kept an old fashioned mail for a while then that ended too.
University was were my best time started. I lived with three wonderful girls. The tidy one. The dynamic one. The loving one. And I was left playing the foolish young one. We didn’t just live together, we were family. So different from one another though complementary. I remember the hours talking, the jokes, the games, the nights out… the tears and the laughs. Now I only hear rare updates while I wish I could talk to them around our kitchen table.
A couple of scoundrels from University: a girlfriend and a few boys… oh. the foolish things we did together! The beautiful warm summer nights in Siena spent listening to some music under the stars, a beer in our hands. We also studied in groups and passed many exams by doing so. We were a good team.
Siena is also home to some older friends. A drama company at the beginning of their first festival. An adventure I will never thank them enough for. I worked long days and longer nights in contact with inspiring artists. The passion that drove them was bewitching and contagious. They could talk about theatre for hours. I miss their energy, but I felt guilty leaving them so I didn’t write to them as much as I would have liked to.
More faces come to mind: teachers, friends, lovers, artists… Some are from a place and time I’ve long left behind, some are from my foreign adventures and far in space and time, others I left not long ago. I see them all for a second, then they escape my mind and hide again. Some I wish I could contact once more, maybe I would find out our affinity still holds. Others, I know, have just changed as much as I have and we wouldn’t have anything to share. So here’s to past years holding all the people I’ve ever known, keep them well in my memory, and I will hold them close to my heart.