Nostalgia is a Blow-up Doll

Nostalgia is a Blow-up Doll

It lies low for a while, that longing to be back there. After you meet your second wife – me – who brings everything new and not-Her in a hamper. Tits and enthusiasm, a future package you can set on a shelf somewhere above the drill and the metal saw. Because all that came before was another you, so distant it feels like someone else was puppeteering your actions, filtering the trash that flew out of your mouth. Like when you said you understood why people kept guns.

And on you carry, shagging, travelling, building, looking left. Responsibility hits you though like a pick-axe. Two kids wedged inside a jack-in-the-box, bouncing, and there’s you wondering what they want. Nights aren’t just sleepless, they gnaw away at you. They tug your mind back. To somewhere else. A place you once knew. Lighter, fewer knots and dead end streets. In fact, fuck, it was bloody brilliant. It was. You were. Hope was crisp, and sex, God, don’t even go there.

But we’re there now. We’re driving in a songless car with the kids in the back and you want to go down memory lane because revisiting isn’t rekindling. It isn’t, you say. So we see mountains and barns and buildings, edifices made sturdier in your mind through time. To me they seem bleak now, set to crumble, but to you they’re just the same, apart from the fields with out-of-town supermarkets that used to have goats in.

And then you start your I-remembers. This was where you sped down the hill on a moped after watching Top Gun and felt you were flying. This is the tree you nearly carved your names on. This is where an old lady lived you used to know.

My mind wanders. I think about Her. I think about the Salle des Fêtes where you had your first dance. And there you are, pushing open the door.

No guests, just multi-coloured spotlights twitching to a soft and unsettling kind of ding-a-ling. She’s standing in the corner, arms starch at her sides. Short white dress, heels, looking kind of plastic. You approach. You don’t know the tune but you’re swaying, and you drive her puffed-out hips to your rhythm, slow but with panache. She smiles, in fact she always does. It’s drawn on her with permanent marker.

You pull her closer, feel her silent contours, turn her around. She’s so damn light. Today and yesterday for the price of tomorrow. You lift up her dress, whispering all sorts into her orange ear and slip up her bum. Squeaky, tight. You rock. She always liked it when you bit her neck as you came. So you do, and you moan and she wheezes, slumps forward, epileptic fit-like, and flops off of you in plastic abandon.

Katie Lodge is a British teacher/translator based in Lyon, France, where she lives with her two kids. She writes personal essays for Huffington Post UK and Litro Magazine, and is currently working on a short story collection on the themes of gender, rootlessness and the sublime mania of singlemumdom. She is also part of the Found Fiction adventure where stories are hidden in trees and other unexpected places.

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