Peter M Howard ::

wintermute.com.au

Dreams of a Place That Never Was

31May2006 [personal]
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Have had memories of last year thrust back into my mind lately… They come and go in waves; when they do come it can be painful. Homesickness for a place I didn’t think I called home.

Dad returned from a trip to England on Monday, bringing with him a bag I’d left with Jenni, full of artifacts of life from last year. Lots of books, most of which I’d read, the hand-cranked coffee grinder I’d bought over at my local coffee shop in Reims and used all year, a CD-wallet with twenty or so albums. I’d copied the music onto my computer, so I’ve been listening to it, but there’s something about having the real thing in my hands again.

I just played Disc 1 of Nas’ Street’s Disciple. It opens with two tracks that fit together: the Intro and “A Message to the Feds, Sincerely, We The People”. Way back at the beginning of last year I’d ripped the two tracks as one song that I looped while walking the 15 minutes to language school… When I play a song that much it becomes inextricably linked to the memory, and playing the song again bought back all those memories: walking in the melting snow, marching to a steady beat as Nas raps “I walk the blocks like whatever…”

Yesterday I read the opening of a novella May’s writing. It’s about a girl studying in Paris, and though the events aren’t taken from last year, the experience is all too familiar. Even though key to the story is the (hopeless) romantic expectations the protagonist has built up, I find myself building them up all over again…

…I still don’t particularly want to live in Reims, but I constantly find myself wanting to go back to Paris… It took me nine months to fall in love with the place, to become familiar with its form; the more time passes, the more I miss it.

Except that part of me wonders if the Paris I love even exists.

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