I silently studied him from across the bookstore. And we locked eyes like that.
A singer-songwriter. His edgy realness rocked the rigidity out of Ward 3 in Northwest DC.
Good looks, quiet confidence and soulful voice were a trifecta of a tease for a twenty-something. He was a beautiful stranger. And I was perfectly poised to ponder the serendipity of our soon to intersect lives.
We became two rebels rushing through youth, intertwined in a free flow of fiery passion. We danced to the divine voice of D'Angelo in the dark. And didn't dissect any deeper meanings from the moment. The dimly lit disintegration of time will do that.
We lost touch. And nearly ten years have gone by.
And then the cerebral technology of a social network that's steeped in the past can sideswipe your soul. Just like that.
"Blast from the past!" said his message. First of all, why do people still say this? (other than the whole rhyming thing). Blasts aren't good.
They can shake you to the core, unearthing the strong stability of a settled story, and unleash emotions that were silently stored in the dark depths of a decade.
Pop ups from the past prolong the palpable passions of a mere moment in time. And if you're not proactive, placating to the yearnings of yesterday can yellow the photographs of your future.
It happens all the time in the digital world. You're tagged in an old photograph, or you tagalong to memories through the stories that stream through your feed, that run through your mind. These moments are a reminder that you're not who you once were. Yet you're not sure how or when time...happened.
Digital presences can make it difficult to distance elapsed time. The recent becomes rapidly wrapped in the past, stoically stored like a cocoon. It's like a souvenir that no longer serves a purpose, other than to be clicked and cooed at from afar.
Recalling moments through the lens of retrospect can rivet the realness of who you are today. You can massage memories with the flutter of your fingertips on the keyboard, beaming and bursting from the momentary beauty from a less intricate time. But you can't turn it back (unless it's Daylight Savings...and look at how much a one-hour switch can cause confusion).
You may blast messages to your past, or bloviate about your humble beginnings. But it's your stories that allow nostalgia to linger, and for realness to resonate. When you surrender to stories from your past, you find ways to weave worthy moments into your present. You release the resistance that allows you to revolutionize the riddles of yesterday. And you heroically harness the power of being human.
Whether your memories are your twenty-something bodies stripped bare. Or certain stories strip your soul bare. Stories summon the subtexts for your life. And sometimes it's just what you need to keep it real.