Now and then

by Lewis

Picture the scene. Then.

The morning sun nudges the night sky awake. The first lights glow washes over the still warm bodies draped across the field. Chests rise and fall in peaceful slumber. Limbs entwined with others, some with the dark stained tables. The gentle glisten of dried sweat shimmers in the air. Peaceful remberences dance by. Whirling to the forgotten sound of the beat. The outline of bodies moving, merged in the heat of the moment. A cool wind blows them away.

If you listen carefully you can still hear the gentle echoes of the thrum thrum thrum. The distant sound of fading music, cheering crowd and pulsing whistles mixing with the chirp of the morning chorus.

Picture the scene. And now.

The morning sun nudges the night awake. The first lights glow washes over the tense already awake bodies. Quick short breathes. Eyes wide. Plastic shapes entwined with discarded bibs.

The gentle glisten of baby vomit and mecunium shimmers in the air. Children’s shapes spin by in the shadows. Whirling to no known rhythm or beat. It is hot. There is no breeze.

All you can hear is the banging and stamping of feet. Echoing thrum thrum thrum through your skull. A child finds the toy whistle as it mixes with the shrill piercing of childrens screams drowning out the distant morning chorus.

Picture the scene. Now remember it. Not the story of it, made in the retelling, but the real moment. Then.

The sun is too hot for this early in the morning. Your head aches with an endlessly repeating thrum ringing through your head, your water starved brain struggling to make sense of it all. Your leg is trapped somehow in what’s left of the table you foolishly danced on last night. And the damn light cuts through everything; flashing daggers of pain mix with flashes of last nights mistakes. Everything reeks of sweat. You can hardly see, bodies are littered everywhere and the wind blows dirt and god knows what else into your face. Some fucking chaffinch is squawking like an angry child.

And now.

The sun is just rising, you still have plenty of time before work. You smile as you lie naked next to her trying to catch your breathe. Eyes wide in amazement and satisfaction. The children for once content to play with each other. Happy and temporarily tear free. A moment to savour. The thrum of their movement washes over you. The noise of their cries is so familiar to you that you that you worry when you can’t hear it, but for now it is underscored by the morning chorus.

Then, was now once. So why make it impossibly rosier than it was. Our world is not meant to be tinted. The truth is some moments were more and some were less and as we change the balance changes. It is impossible to capture then; you can never step in the same stream twice. So maybe it’s not about swimming in idyllic days gone by, but taking a moment to enjoy dipping your toes in what’s happening right now.