I went on a bike ride today.
As long-term riders of the blog might know, we have something called Ciclovia here every Sunday and on holidays. It’s a day when the city shuts down half of our major roads, or shuts one lane and makes traffic share the other. It works out surprisingly well, since people are usually asleep or out of town on Sundays, so there aren’t that many cars using the roads anyways, and no unusually bad traffic jams build up.
I haven’t done Ciclovia in a couple of months. Initially, I was too exhausted physically and emotionally from moving to my new place. Then, I just got lazy. I’d wake up around 9, look outside, and decide to stay in bed on facebook. I decided this week I’d get back to it, so I got up early, had a quick breakfast, and went out.
It was a perfect day; beautiful and comfortably sunny. I know the routes for ciclovia by heart, so I just went on autopilot and started my ride. As I pedalled, my thoughts began to wander. I went under a bridge, and remembered all the mornings I’d gone on that road on my way to work, back when I lived farther away. I rode north, and as I biked past a mall on 80th street, I remembered a wonderful day last year when I’d gone shopping all over town, and had ended the day by going shopping at the mall and buying my favourite dress.
As I headed further north, I began to feel a jumble of mixed memories of dozens of previous bike rides I’ve gone on in the last year. I remembered laughing by one street, while listening to The Book of Mormon for the first time. I rode by a park I’d stopped at once to conquer its Pokemon GO gym. I remembered a nice neighbourhood I always liked riding by.
I got to a road that passed by a sports complex. I got flashbacks of me having to got there for tennis lessons when I was in primary school, and of sneaking off with my friend Mateo to go play mini golf with our tennis rackets.
It went on for the rest of the day. Some places brought back memories me of fun days I’d had, others reminded me of people. It was nice. Not all of the things I remembered were happy, but I was still glad to think of them again. It gave texture to my city; made it someplace special to me, with love for all the parks I’d stopped by in the past, the streets I’d cried on in rainy days, or giggled on under the moon after drinking.
There were parts of it that made me think of 15-year old me, and left me with a happy smile as I remembered the enthusiasm she had about visiting there for the first time. Others gave me a more bittersweet feeling as I felt like younger me for a second, and remembered all the pain and sadness she carried everywhere with her.
I wasn’t surprised my ride ended up in so much recollection; I’ve been thinking for a few days of what it’s like coming back to a place that means something special to you.
I stayed at my parents’ house Friday night. I’ve been there plenty of times in the past year, but for whatever reason, this time felt a little odd. As I sat in the living room, dressed in my soft blouse and makeup, I started thinking of the way younger me would sneak around when no one was home just to play with my mum’s makeup, or dress up in her clothes.
It was a little disorienting.
Here I was, openly and comfortably being myself in a place where for so many years I’d felt immense pressure to suppress a huge part of me, to not think about who I was, not feel how I felt. After a little while, I began to enjoy it. I was essentially on a victory tour in front of my old demons. I was laughing in their face, and celebrating how I’d won in the end.
Anyway. I left the next morning, but stopped by a spot in a nearby park, where I’d spent so much of my late adolescence. It was there I’d been reading all summer years ago as I got over my first heartbreak. I remember learning the ukulele sitting there, and stumbling there to nap a little before going home the first time I got drunk.
Just as my parents’ apartment wasn’t just where they lived, but a reminder of a difficult childhood, this grassy spot was much more than that. It was my past, and many happy memories in that past.
I’ve been working at my current job for nearly a year and a half now.
Time has passed much more quickly than I thought it would. I looked out the window last Thursday, and got so many memories of working at the office last year. It was odd, that. It didn’t feel like so long ago I was getting lost on my way to my job interview there, or struggling to find the restaurant area in the office complex.
I had the same feeling going to pick up my hormones at the hospital on Wednesday. I nearly started crying as I walked into the building, and it took me a second to remember why; I’d had a depressing phone call with a friend outside that building, where she told me she didn’t want to be friends anymore.
How could I have ever guessed a hospital entrance would make me remember an old friend?
I’ll stop with the anecdotes now, though I hope they’ve given you an idea of how excessively nostalgic this week has been for me. Not bad in any way, but with lots of memories and many different emotions.
Right now, I’m just wondering which places I’ll start forming attachments to. I suppose my current apartment is one, I only have to give it time. But which of the thousands of buildings that I see each day will end up somewhere new that makes me think of my family, or someone I’ll like? What random street will I come to know as well as I know the shape of my smile?
It’s odd to think about. Just like I will sometimes wonder while talking to someone new whether we will be best friends someday, I find myself wondering whether a restaurant I’ve just visited or a park I’ve stopped by will one day carry its own set of memories and thoughts and feelings with it.
Hope you’ve all been having a good day, and have a wonderful week. I have the day off from work tomorrow (yay!!) and will likely be resting, but hopefully I’ll also get the chance to record a song for Tuesday’s post. If I do, it’s going to be one that’s a bit… different. I kinda like the idea, but it might be weird to watch. We’ll see how it goes 😉