Moments Unlived 20 August 2006Posted by EDITOR in GUESTS, Poetry, Psychology.
Our guest contributor this week is U Bhatti, an attorney in Washington, DC.
I would meet you now
and I would wish this scar
to have been given with
all the love
that never occurred between us.
Michael Ondaatje wrote that.
When I was twenty, a friend wrote me a letter from the camp where he was staying for the summer, asking me if I was ever nostalgic for moments unlived. The letter was handwritten, with small writing, scribbled on the back of a flyer or something that he’d obviously torn down from some bulletin board someplace, I could see where the staples had ripped the page, and there was all kinds of stuff in it, stories about the campers and the other counselors and the woods and the lake and the trees and the leaves and everything, but all I remember was that he asked me if I was ever nostalgic for moments unlived.
God, am I ever. I wasn’t then, at least, not at the exact moment at which I read those words, and I don’t even really remember if I understood that line in all its complexity and beauty when I read it, but I am so nostalgic for moments like those now. I think of them when I see my friends, my family, my acquaintances. I imagine them as I walk down the street, when I bump into people I know well and people I barely know. I dream of them when I lie down to sleep. I am writing, writing, writing constantly in my head, wondering if I will ever be able to turn all of the moments unlived between myself and the many people in my life into words on a page worth reading, and ignoring the pesky voice in my head that says stop. Stop.
Someone, please, teach me to live in the present again. I’m really not sure when I stopped.