It does make me think about going back to visit myself.
While I am always prone to nostalgia and contemplation of the past, I find as I grow older the subjunctive desires, wishing what it could have been have fallen by the wayside: travelers on the road of Time that step aside to allow the freight of inquiry along. To put it in a simpler way—because I have no intention of abandoning my idioms of complexity just yet and so delete the former sentence—I wonder if I even understand the past at all. This realization correlates into the uncomfortable suspicion that I don't understand the present at all either.
I look at the portrait she did of me and I think about that woman. Not her, per se. (although I still think about Astrid quite a bit at times), but rather the woman I was.
"But she doesn't look like that."Whether he actually said that or not is irrelevant to me. Painters can often be egotistical shits in love with their idea of enforcing will upon the world through vision and craft. At the time I thought Astrid was trying to control and shape me. She was always doing that sort of thing: telling me what to wear, how to use a fork properly. I often hated her and I was utterly in love with her.
Or was I? Did I know how to love? Or am I merely enforcing what I have learned, which I never would have learned if I had not lived through it?
If I traveled back in time would I really be recognized by my former self? So much has changed owing to subtleties I can barely fathom. This part of aging, the slow maturity than in Grand Crus can take decades, is actually comforting. Perhaps at most I would appear as a frightening Döppelganger.
I would approach myself, perhaps on that day when I was alone and angry sitting in the rain at Volunteer Park. After I calmed down from the initial shock, I would say to myself (reflexives are confusing in time travel, of course.)
"Don't worry. I'm not here to commit crimes so the police will think you did them."
"Or steal my girlfriend?"
"I don't have to do that. She's going to leave you in two months, so quit worrying about that fight you had with her."
"Like the others. But don't worry. In about 10 years you're going to meet someone wonderful. "
"Why do I have to wait so long?"
"Because it will take ten years to become me, that's why."
"That's not really an answer."
"Of course not, but you know we enjoy vague stubs of thought that we can fracture open and look at like a..."
"Geode. Yes, a trope you will keep using although the rest of you may change. Oh yes, and go get a copy of Heraclitus and start reading him again."
Am I throwing wishes into the past? Perhaps. It was something Astrid always criticized me for, and Morgan before her. If I still spoke with my mother she would do it as well.
My boyfriend likes the picture.
"If I just saw a picture like that I wouldn't know what to make of it. It's nice and all, kind of cartoonish, but there's a reason for that I guess. But I know you better when you talk about it. I see someone in love, but a little nervous about all of it. You're wearing her favorite camisole, I'll bet."
"And you still have it."
"How did you know?"
"Because you look a little bit like a thief to me. Stealing hearts, memories, underwear."