Years ago on a whim I drove Alex and myself westward on a state route until it was finally dark enough to see the stars. We parked next to a cornfield, lay down on the hood of my car, and were quiet for a while. It's one of those things that, beforehand I thought it sounded cute and romantic, and looking back it sounds cute and romantic, but at the time it was just kind of weird. It took us a really long time to drive to a place that was adequately filled with stars, I'm not sure Alex was entirely sold on the idea in the first place, the stars really weren't all that bright or plentiful, and once we got there it was simultaneously humid and a little chilly, so we didn't hang out there for long.
I know that I am not alone when it comes to the golden haze of memory and storytelling. While I can't (lovingly, with blurry but rosy edges) recall the psychological term, I do know there exists a proven type of nostalgia where we tend to white-wash our pasts. People yearn for the heyday of the 1950's when men wore hats, women baked cakes, there was always ice cream in the fridge, and children respected their elders instead of trembling with the remembered fear of the communist witch hunts, Jim Crow and lynchings, and the threat of Soviet invasion. It's not necessarily a bad thing on a personal level. I don't fault anyone for wanting to think they had a happier life than they really did.
I'm currently engaged in a struggle against the tangible threat of the cloying mist that is nostalgia and re-writing and misremembering my personal history. If you hit the "back" button just once, you will see evidence of a terrible, consuming heartbreak that honestly threatened my sanity a bit. Yet, in the short span of a five-hour reconciliation last night, my heart and mind are so willing and ready to forget the mess that was the state of my relationship in order to be truly happy that somehow, Alex came to his senses.
Last night has the makings of a cute, romantic story. Phrases like "I realized that, honestly, life sucks without you" and declarations of things like "I'm all in" were uttered, framed against the backdrop of a deserted Lake Michigan beach, the twinkle of the skyline all around us. There were brief moments of intense happiness, perhaps even giddiness, more often muted by serious discussion, hard questions, and apologies.
I think I'm happy. I think getting back into a relationship with him was the right decision, and I'm sure that once the proof of time has passed I will look back upon last night with a quiet sigh and a smile. In the meantime, you'll forgive me if I let my heart that was hardened over the last couple months be quietly cautious, viewing this wonderful thing that has happened with a measure of circumspection. I want to be happy. I want this to be as wonderful as I think it is. I want to believe that everything that was said was meant, and will be followed through. I want nothing more than for my life to feel both normal and great again. I just don't want to be hurt so badly ever again.