Yesterday I bought some raisin bran muffins. I shouldn’t have because I am dieting and these are certainly not diet food, but they just sounded good. This morning as I took my first bite I was taken back in time, nearly 25 years. I was sitting on a bar stool in my grandmothers giant kitchen. Eating her Post Raisin Bran recipe version of a bran muffin and sipping on a glass of milk. I can smell the musty coming from the basement and feel the golden shag carpet beneth my feet.
My grandmother, we call her Mema in true Southern fashion, didn’t think she was a baker. She would play and throw things together, but she didn’t think she was very good at it. Well, I beg to differ. If she had been a bad baker I wouldn’t think these amazing bran muffins could rival hers. Until now I hadn’t had a bran muffin other than hers, so maybe I am just partial and they are not the same.
Isn’t it funny how material things can transform a moment? A muffin, a song, or even a smell.
Any time Alanis Morrisette comes on the radio, it is once again 1994 and I am a freshman in high school – nervous laugh, fuzzy hair, and all. To narrow songs down to “You Learn” I am in the backseat of my friend’s car trying to get back to normal after a “dam” party so that I can take a Spanish final. I don’t remember how the test turned out. I think I passed. I remember Bart’s mom pulling me out of the room and telling me to take it down a level. Thank God a friend of mine’s mom was our sub that day. Whew!
The smell of Curve reminds me of my little sister who wore it for years. So it also reminds me of the bedroom we shared until I graduated high school. Dark wood paneling, old twin beds and a TV that had enough of an NBC signal to sneak episodes of “Friends.” Mal’s scent has evolved over the last decade, but she still keeps a token bottle on her dresser. Perhaps she too gets transported back in time at the smell.
I spent this weekend doing things that I love, but at each turn I was reminded of my marriage and it made me sad. I went to the giant Farmers Market near the Heights, and picked out vegetables and helped one of my best friends find a pinata. The only other person I had ever been there with was my husband and we used to go all the time. I miss lazy Saturday mornings of haggling with the veggie farmers and exploring their most unusual treats. Then the smells in the air. The sounds of the busy street. The people all around yelling in Spanish and Vietnamese. Could it really have been six years ago?
This weekend I sort of longed for the nostalgia. If you read my post from Saturday you know that I haven’t been doing that great, but I will be better. Weekends like this of remembering and recalling the things that make me happy help. I am slowly rebuilding who I am and deciding the things that I need. I know some day every thing will work together and those, “Song remembers when” moments will grow fewer and farther between. I will build new memories with new people. I will forget the bad times. I will be able to tell my kids about all the fun I had with their dad.
If you are in a place of pain, sometimes what you need to do is wallow in it for a minute, allow it to soak in and hold you immobile for a moment. Except you need to remember to let it go, allow it to fall away and move forward. Let the “songs remember when” so that you know that you don’t have to.