A person’s past is a funny place. Visiting your past is a frequent topic of literature; rarely, however, does one get to experience this visitation in actuality, except…
Yesterday, I brought my boyfriend to a place of my past, Mercer County Community College, a place I hadn’t been since high school, where I’d taken chemistry classes and danced and sung in the choruses of several community musical theater productions; a place I was bringing my boyfriend to relive my past by auditioning for a show. Odd as it was to bring my boyfriend to my high school stomping ground, it only became stranger as I bumped into people I’d known during college, auditioning for the same show. Gravity shifted as the past ten years of my life met in a bizarre conglomeration of places and faces.
The chance meetings were surreal, but were only topped off by seeing people I’d known during high school, people I’d done multiple performances with, had danced next to, and hugged at auditions and at the end of the shows… and having not a single person recognize me.
I felt incognito in my own skin, a fly on the wall by just being myself, observing these people who had no idea that I knew them. Knew who’d been dating whom, who’d moved in with a girlfriend, and who’d had a baby just a few months earlier.
These people were almost unchanged by the ten-year intermission from when last I’d seen them. It was the same people, auditioning for the same leading roles, going to the same callbacks, in the same building. While I had gotten three degrees, lived in different cities, had countless conversations with friends, and the requisite growing pains of being in my late teens, and early-and-mid-twenties, these people were suspended, unaltered, in the time capsule of my memories of ten years ago. How odd to come back to this place, and find that the humans frozen in my memory had been revived exactly as if no time had passed since the last time I’d exited the theater doors a decade before.
And now? They go back into my memory, exactly the same. While I keep growing up, my memories and the humans they contain remain impervious to the wearing passage of time: a reminder of the high school girl I was, illuminating the adult I’ve become.