The Cedarville Review 2021

What’s the word for wishing I could latch back on? Back to golden hour on that unremarkable autumnal evening at the end of September when I walk with so much spring in my step and sun on my skin that I feel like I am glowing like an illuminated saint. Hundreds of tiny flies swarm around just high enough on the paths so I have to wave my hand in front of my face as I walk to ward them off, but from afar, they look like the glittering wind, like motes of dust floating around on gusts in the sunbeams. The world feels stylized, coalescing into Van Gogh swirls for a moment before hardening back into pellucid detail. I wear headphones so Tom Odell plays just loudly enough to form the soundtrack to my walk without blocking out the clop of my Mossimo boot heels on the hole-pocked concrete or the voices and laughter tumbling over each other from people I pass by. If I took an earbud out, I’d be able to hear the soft rush of the shimmering water gushing from the fountain nearby, and the quiet hush of the wind in the pines, and the shrill piping of the crickets and cicadas slicing through the air. It must have looked odd when I faltered in my step and just stopped there, in the middle of the path, to look at the whole scene like it was my first time setting foot on the face of the earth. It felt odd to stroll without that usual urgency in my step. Nostalgia, that’s the word. And what’s the word for knowing I’ll someday be nostalgic for a moment while I’m in it? Someday, I’ll sit by the window with a cocoa mug suspended between my cold, colorless fingers and watch the snow fall for the first time once again, and I’ll remember when that heavy white sky had been gold. Someday, I’ll walk out onto my porch, still in my pajamas, while the uncut front lawn is still SENSE RACHEL RATHBUN