I’m sitting in one of the most depressing places I know of. My neighborhood laundromat. Alicia Keys is singing ‘This Girl is on Fire’ through the tinny speakers. The floors are the cheapest linoleum, easy to replace in case of leaks. The cinder block walls are a sickly powder blue. They remind me of the hospital for whatever reason. Everyone in here looks so sad, and lonely. Maybe I’m just projecting my own feelings of loss. The mother and daughter in front of of me just laughed, the mother telling her daughter ‘I love you,’ with heart felt earnest that only a mother knows. Her daughter didn’t hear, she’s already put her headphones back in her ears. I heard her though. That type of love can’t be replaced.
When I was young we used to hang out in here late at night. Sit around on the machines talking and laughing. Passing 40s around, sometimes a blunt if we were lucky to get one. We were the youth, the bad ones, the kids of today that the adults shake their heads at. It makes me laugh a little now when people say the same thing about today’s kids. Like they were never young. Like I wasn’t there when they tore the deck off a house, or jumped out of moving cars, drove so high they thought they would touch the sky. Played chicken at stop lights the list goes on and on. The tragedy of age is forgetting your youth. Forgetting that beautiful time when you were desperately wanting. Forgetting that moment we were those ‘kids these days.’ Forgetting that time when we believed life was forever and everything was possible.
Today I drown in the rabbit hole of my own youth. The memories crowd all around as I become one of the sad middle aged women trying desperately to keep the embers deep down inside burning through the drudgery of normalcy, surrounded by the same blue walls that brought me up and hold deep in their fibers the laughter of my youth.