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The Ruins of Nostalgia 56

Donna Stonecipher (2018)

We watched a video on the internet of the arena we’d seen our first concert in being bulldozed. We had seen no video of the club where we’d first smoked clove cigarettes and kissed a boy wearing makeup bulldozed. One day it was just no longer there. We had seen no video or photos of our high school being bulldozed. When we heard that our elementary school was scheduled for the wrecking ball we walked down and took photos of the mural of a deer in a snowy landscape we’d won a contest to get to paint on the elementary school wall. Shortly after, the deer was bulldozed. We had seen no photos of the café where we had first drunk a mocha bulldozed. One day it was just no longer there. We had been astonished to find a real café, with real intellectuals in it playing chess, real Persian cats draped on sills, real mochas and cappuccinos and disheveled newspapers on poles and foxed wallpaper in our own provincial city. By the time the café was bulldozed ten years later, we weren’t astonished. We had not seen any photos or videos of it bulldozed; one day it was just no longer there. In that bulldozed café and other bulldozed cafés around the city we’d always ordered mochas, which bridged our childish love of sweets with our lust for adult narcotics. We had not seen many photos or videos of the sites across which our youth had played out bulldozed, but one by one they must all have been, for one day they were just no longer there. Sometimes we felt sheepish for noticing that the sites of our youth had all been bulldozed to make room for the bulging of prosperity, though the question of who was really prospering did not stand long before it was bulldozed. Any attempt to turn around and glance one last time at the past resulted in that past being instantly bulldozed. For the bulls never doze in the ruins of nostalgia.

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