Nostalgia

I tentatively suck on a peppermint tea, its steam swirling like the dream sequence in a low-budget eighties’ flick. The taste transports me from my February bedroom to Tangiers, 2004.

I was sitting outside an ornate café with my new husband, drinking the most delicious sweet tea from a tall glass crammed with mint leaves. I watched the men and women on the streets, their robes gathering in creases as they walked. Cars weaved in and out of people; horns beeping constantly like a type of shorthand for impatient drivers.

I take another gulp and am reminded of the last time I drank fresh mint tea. About a year ago, a friend and I decided to dine in the Moroccan restaurant my ex-husband works in. As head chef, he didn’t have time to converse but he presented us with a procession of trays laden down with tasters of everything on the menu. By the time the main course arrived, we were already full. And then there was dessert. It was sumptuous.

We finished off the meal with mint tea in patterned glasses, which instantly banished the sickly stuffed sensation. When I hugged him goodbye, he didn’t really hug me back. That was the last time I saw him. He has since remarried.

The tiniest thing can whisk you back to a time or a place or a feeling. A waft of coconut sun cream. The rushing of the ocean. The smell of grass on a spring breeze. The delighted cries of children playing late into a summer evening. An almost forgotten song on the radio. The scent of your first crush’s aftershave. The feeling of a lake as your body breaks its surface.

This is beauty. However, it can lead to nostalgia, a wistful yearning for the happiness of the past. This dilutes the perfection of a simple moment with sadness, regret, loss, and longing.

The secret is to experience the magnificence of these minute details right now. There is magic in every spark and crackle of a winter fire. In the music of the wind and rain dancing outside as you snuggle beneath a soft duvet. In a tight embrace. In the pale orange and yellow of a young daffodil. In the comfortable silence that settles between two people who love each other no matter what. And in the feeling of warmth and serenity as you sip a peppermint tea.

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