Drabble 156 – Desiderium

A photo of an old analog camera.

I’ve been thinking a lot about nostalgia lately. A couple hours ago, I finished playing through Night in the Woods for a second time, and after that, I edited an essay about Kingdom Hearts 3. Both are nostalgic in their own ways, both a little muddled and confused in their emotions, but also both hopeful.

I look back at where I came from and sometimes it stings, sometimes it doesn’t. I keep coming back to this line from a poem—my instructor read this to us in class, and I still hear it in her voice, every time.

We're still growing but the stitches hurt     Let us be
True to one another for the world
 
Easy on the myths now 
Make it up     Sleep well
- "Sediments of Santa Monica" by Brenda Hillman

It’s nice, isn’t it? Nice in a painful way.

Nostalgia used to be considered a sickness back in the 17th century—a real sickness, one that doctors would try to treat. The definition has since shifted to mean something more wistful. Less painful, more thoughtful. I think it can be both.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

DESIDERIUM

(n.) from Latin desiderare—”to long for”

A longing for something you had once, but no longer have.

Matilda misses the darkroom, the way that images used to arise out of the dark like spirits. It was alchemy of a kind, turning chemicals and darkness into people, into flowers, into architecture.

Mistakes were part of the process. Remedying them was part of the process. It isn’t that things are worse now, with the ability to take more and use less, but there’s something missing. A fear, maybe. She doesn’t have to be careful anymore. She doesn’t have to be delicate.

This is her problem, she knows, but she longs for a time when she didn’t have a choice.

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