Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Masochistic Nostalgia Highway, Mr. High School Exit

"Every time I open the drawer, it's a trip down Memory Lane, which, if you don't turn off at the right exit, merges straight into the Masochistic Nostalgia Highway."

~~Sloane Crosley in "The Pony Problem"

I'm pretty sure I still think about him too much. I'm not sure a formula exists to calculate the exact right amount that a 43-year-old married mother of four should spend thinking about her high school crush. I mean, what variables would it take into account? But whatever the formula is or would be, I'm pretty sure I'm on the wrong side of it.*

Maybe it helps my case that he wasn't only a high school crush, but also a grown-up friend though only fleetingly. I only know that in spite of the fact that he has been gone for six years, I am still saving up little bits of things I want to tell him the next time we talk. There is still a slew of songs I can't hear without wincing a little. His voice, our voices together, still reverberate in my head sometimes--all the things we said and all the ones we didn't.
Our lives are assembled from the smallest moments--moments that fit together like interlocking pieces so tightly that the seams are indiscernible. Sometimes the pattern of our lives seems as inevitable, as predictable as the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle coming together to make the picture on the box.
But the seams are there whether we can make them out or not. And the pieces we have to choose from while not infinite are more numerous and more varied than we sometimes remember. I think that's part of why my mind goes back again and again to the places where those seams are--to the times when those other choices, those other moments, those other possible selves still existed.
There is something about realizing how different everything could've been that makes me appreciate the way things are all the more.

*T > S where "T"=The Current Quantity of Masked Mom's Thoughts About Mr. High School and "S"=How Much MM Should Be Thinking About MHS. Speaking of mathematical equations to solve life problems, you would probably be better off checking out this Dear Sugar column than trying read this post.


  1. Beautiful. I think we all have those. I love your closing and may someday quote you and link to you when I get up the courage and the words to write about mine.

  2. I've thought of writing a similar post but haven't yet dared- you may have just given me the courage to do so. With people we know reading, it's not as easy as it looks to admit something like this. Great conclusion!

  3. I married my high school boyfriend, but I often think that if my family hadn't moved to town that year, and his hadn't moved back and stayed for four years, we wouldn't have met. Life has so many twists and turns and curlicues, it really makes me appreciate what I have. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Michelle, there is a line in the otherwise irredeemable George Michael song "A Different Corner" that I really love: "Turn a different corner and we never would've met..." It's so true that the smallest difference could make all the difference.

    Nicole & cdnkaro, I hope you both do write about yours.

    Nicole, I would be flattered to be included.

    And Cdnkaro, I am blessed (or cursed) in that I seem unable to stop myself from writing (and talking) about stuff sometimes no matter who is reading/listening. I have written about Mr. High School so much here, he has his own heading in the sidebar. What's definitely a blessing is an understanding husband and family who are used to--and even supportive of--my "quirks."

  5. Your final paragraph just about sums it up. It's like pushing on a bruise to make it hurt, because it feels good when it stops. I love the imagery of puzzle pieces and love the idea of the "seams" being the other selves. I think you may start a whole rash of posts about lost loves.

  6. My own MHS came back for me...for about a year and a half. It ended badly but we were able to re-establish a friendship later. Sometimes I trace those seams and wonder. And then I shake my head and know that I'm right where I ought to be...because where I am is very good.