I found the same apricot jam I ate most days on toast in Ireland. It was on a shelf in Target. Just sitting there, among all the other brands, non-special, non-unique, with other flavors. I couldn’t believe it! I bought it. Hello, apricot jam. You delicious little devil, you.
I’ve been eating it. Well, I’ve had a couple of servings, on toast, in the evenings, with my breakfast-for-dinner-specials. It’s not the same. It’s disappointing. I mean, it’s decent jam. It’s thick and has a nice, apricot-y flavor still, but it’s not Ireland-jam. I’m sure it’s the same jam. I’m sure it really wasn’t packaged or made differently. It’s the other things, the little details, that are different. The bread is different. It’s thinner and soggier and doesn’t toast up the same. The butter is weaker, with less flavor, and thinner, somehow. My toaster is lackluster. The toast barely pops up out of it after its browning session. It just kind of hops up and sits there, patiently getting cool while I do other things. I don’t have any Irish breakfast tea to scald the roof of my mouth between bites. I don’t like it. I don’t like that I can’t re-create my Ireland toast. I don’t like that the apricot flavor slightly stokes my memory of Irish breakfasts and snacks, but it isn’t enough. It’s not full force.
It made me think of other things–superficial things that we can’t re-create. What about when you have a great meal, and you go back and try to repeat it, but it’s not the same. You’re not hungry for the same thing; you order a different beer; somehow the meal is cooked differently; you order a different side. Not duplicated. Or maybe you go to this bar where you once had a great time, but because you’re with a different group, it’s not the same. That one friend is missing; that one person who must have lit up the night. It’s just not right. Or the weather is different. Last time it was cold and snowy; this time it is warm and sunny. Last time it was the middle of the afternoon; this time it is late night. “Take a picture you could never re-create.”
So many things we can’t re-create, but we try, don’t we. We futilely try. It made me think of my friend, who just got out of a serious relationship, and all those things that remind you of being with them, and maybe those things you’re trying to forget, those memories you would like to alter or slightly re-create a different version with someone else, and you can’t do it. They stick their foot in, they poke you in the side; they smile at you slyly from across the room. All those times you can’t escape, even if you want to because it’s too soon. It bites. I’m thinking of how much time we need to honestly be able to re-create something. Do we have to forget first? Do we have to allow ourselves to be removed from the memory first? Seems complex. Seems like we spend so much time waiting for time to pass that it’s not worth doing anything in the meantime, if time is going to pass regardless. I wonder though, if our brains don’t slightly re-wire, alter, for us to forget. For us to numb/dull the time that’s living there, before we can move past it, before we can enjoy dull, weak, American toast with Apricot Jam to its fullest potential. What do we do in the meantime? Keep trying? Keep trying to eat this toast and just allow ourselves to be constantly reminded that it’s not the same, and it will never be the same again? Keep poking ourselves in the ribcage? Or do we stop eating the toast, let ourselves forget the Irish toast, and then try again, later, maybe? But I don’t want to forget the Irish toast! I want to be reminded of it! Will that ever change? Will I ever not want to be reminded of it? I guess that’s what the time is for…
Yes, Apricot Jam is a metaphor. Don’t get discouraged.