Nostalgia is a sly devil.
As the morning’s coffee rolled around my palate and started to sink beyond my gullet, I was hit with a sudden rush of nostalgia for fog. Of all the things Los Angeles has done to me in his short introduction — and there have been many, many things — his wont dessication of my upper passages is no queerer than in those moments when the heat and mist of an acidic, bitter brown slew crashes against my olfactory shores. Sensation and association strengthen the pang of nostalgia when it hits; it was coffee, that wonder drug, which I took back up living amongst streets of fog.
Wresting with nostalgia is hard.
Of all the memories in my codex, one chapter is just yellowed and dank from near-psychotic reciting, nights full of scorching sunlight and days of tears work against a conservation of the better sentences in its stories. Its poems of heartache echo in the strangest places: bus stops, waiting rooms, the checkout lines of grocery stores with linoleum floors reminiscent of your youth. The rhymes and reasons generally lead to cadenzas of silence, their author checked-out and beckoned away. The problem with sudden memories is that they throw themselves at you with no bell, you’re suddenly on the mat, the surrounding sounds crowd your perception like a violent audience, and it isn’t ’til moments later, having collected your thoughts and reorganized them into their usual modicum of cogency that you escape from the full-nelson and walk away, with your reusable fabric grocery bag, full of freshly roasted coffee beans and memories of the days of plastic bags and foggy aisles of freedom.
Still, my sinuses burn.
I rolled out of bed, popped the morning’s medicine into my gullet, and bussed myself into the kitchen to grind beans, boil water, and wake up, carefully, to save the last stretch of all my muscles for the moment the brown brew broke the silence of my taste buds. The water boiled and I hocked a loogie into the kitchen sink: bloodied. It was rare in San Francisco to wake up with an arid, yet bloodied spit. Windows ever so cracked, the effusive moisture of the city always snuck her way in each night like an old Barbary Coast whore to find the lonely corners where her service was needed. I inhaled her almost every night and she comforted me.
This morning I’m drinking my coffee and longing for the days of comfort. I’m longing for the days of fog. I’m longing for the days of baked bread down the street and brothers across the way. I’m longing for a time of hot creme readied near my cup, suitors anxious to pour themselves into my drink. I’m longing for the days of pleasant, youthful confusion. I’m longing for the dog-ears of pages whose lines used to make sense, whose words used to rhyme, with mine, and whose authors still sit, here, next to me, drinking the shitty coffee of youth and laughing the awful taste away, together, in the comforts of our fog.
Again, my mug, emptied.