It's the nostalgia, I decide as I walk through the town I grew up in, that makes my relationship with it feel like a failed romance. I love it here, but it’s a can’t-live-with-it-can’t-live-without-it kind of deal. To live here all the time would be like living in a permanent state of teenage love-sickness.
First there are the memories, deposited around the town like bin bags left out for collection. I trip over them, kicking their contents across the pavement and making my shoes sticky. These are memories I don’t even know I have until I arrive here and find them lurking around corners and spilling out of windows.
Then there’s how much it’s changed. The shops, the bars, the cafes, the atmosphere: it’s all changed. What it was hangs around my neck like a locket but what it is now is impossible to avoid. Conflict’s good for stories but it’s awkward in real life. It makes you feel displaced.
I love this place more than anywhere else but it hurts to be here sometimes, to know that it carries on without me.
Image by Seyed Mustafa Zamani