A whim possessed me today. There's no other explanation for riding an extra Trax stop in hotter-than-the-fires-of-Mordor heat so that I could walk farther to get back home. I sensed nostalgia edging in and I just caved.
The extra Trax stop took me nearer to campus, and allowed me to mimic the walk I used to take home several years ago now. Except that, of course, it's no longer that walk.
Buildings have changed, gas stations have been redesigned with repaved parking lots, entire business have left. It's a familiar landscape still, but it's also an unfamiliar one.
At first I chose to attribute it to the quiet of college summer, but the longer I walked the more I felt everything to be immeasurably different. It hasn't been that long, not really, not comparatively--but so many of these places have become landmarks of the someone-once-lived-there or I-used-to-eat-sandwiches-in-that-place-that-doesn't-even-serve-food-anymore variety.
The purse slung over my shoulder felt wrong, felt as though it should be weighed down with more books and slung over the OTHER should cross-strap style. Houses that used to have beautiful flower beds look straggly and sad.
I never had noticed the kind of spectacular cityscape that I could see as I made my way downward. My thoughts back then had probably been too full of philosophers and essays and worries about whether or not I was good enough, whether I was smart enough.
Honestly I think this might be the closest that we ever get to time travel: walking paths that we once walked, where inevitably we find ourselves accompanied by our former selves.