On the first day of spring, I bought myself a cookie dough flavoured ice cream cone. I almost didn’t. I almost kept walking past the shop, and round the corner, and all the way back to my apartment. But then I thought, why not. Why not get an ice cream cone when it’s beautiful outside, and it’s Saturday, and I would love nothing more than to sit on this bench and join the millions of people, somewhere in the world, probably eating ice cream right this second?
So I did, and it was nice, and it reminded me of when I turned twenty-four and all I wanted to do was to sit on a curb and eat ice cream on my birthday but nobody wanted to go so I went by myself because that’s what you have to do sometimes. That wasn’t the last time people didn’t understand the things I wanted. Sometimes, people just don’t understand anything.
An ice cream cone is childhood in the same way pencil shavings, and sand castles, and lunch boxes are childhood. You see these things and you immediately remember how blue the sky looked, and how short summer felt, and how sticky your fingers used to be. The magic of the olden days. It’s impossible to recreate but you can sometimes snatch glimpses of it on those golden late August evenings when everything is glowing.
No matter where we are in life or how good the future seems, there’s a part of us that always longs to go backwards, to return to some former time that lives on a pedestal in our memories. Since we can’t physically go back in time, we instead create vintage pictures on Instagram to create the illusion that what we’re doing happened a very long time ago and that’s why it is precious.
The past is something we can’t have ever again, and for that reason, we yearn for it all the more. The very fact that it’s forever out of reach is what makes us stretch our fingers out even further. We want what we can’t have, even if that’s just eating an ice cream cone on a curb with the trees swaying in the same sort of way they used to when you were eight.
Eventually, we realize it’s not really an ice cream cone that we want. It’s the safety, happiness, and carefree heart that comes with it.