Long Ago

Dear J—

There’s a couple of ‘long ago’ songs running through my head right now; the first is Someone Else’s Story from the musical Chess and the second is a nonsensical song I could still play on the piano today: long long ago, long ago, long ago; long long ago, long long ago. In the key of C: C C-D-E, E-F-G, A-G-F; G-F-E-D, F-E-D-C. I think. My pitch is probably off.

It feels like we have a thousand other obligations to get out of the way first; there’s always something to be said for fun things like playing games and running around outside. Our entertainment long ago was just that: as the nights grew short and the days were long, ride your bikes around in the cool evening dusk and see how fast you can go on those quiet roads and empty parking lots. We lived in a city that swelled by day and shrank at night, with the last remaining traffic dying out after suppertime, and kids ruling the streets after that. Do you remember those nights or were you stuck indoors after dinner?

We have had strong winds here in San Mateo day after day; you instinctually grab a sweater or jacket before you head out and perhaps that’s as it should be but on the other hand there’s a certain tired sameness about it. I suppose it’s a constant thing, this wind, and there’s nothing to be done about it unless you realize it’s been around since long ago and who are you to stop it? There are shelters and walls all around, not far from where you’re standing and you can feel it switch off abruptly when you stand in the lee instead; what other ways do you have?


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