I lived on the seafront for two years. For two out of three years of my degree, my calendar was dictated by the waves and seasons. June sunbathing on the stony shore after lectures. November kitchen tea-sipping, whilst gazing at waves battering Victoria Terrace bringing with them pebbles that strafed the road. Cycling down the Seafront in April, dodging ocean spray as I made my way home. My family making the yearly pilgrimage to the Arts Centre Christmas Market. Aberystwyth was a fantastic place to live, and my heart yearns for the wildness and freedom that it willingly gave to me. Long ago.
Fifteen years later I look back and pine. Lament a time in which endless possibilities presented themselves to me, and my only concerns were when an essay was due or whether I could attend a social to sign up for a hike with the Walking Club. My God, I miss it all. The dark wood creaking seats of the Art Department lecture halls. The crackle of expectancy at English lectures delivered by published poets. The beer-soaked nights at the Glengower Hotel, with a slap of air at leaving time that sent one reeling in to a savage hangover. It went so, so fast. Yet even as the years spun by, I knew my time there was special.
My face is now more lined with cares, and my body keenly succumbed to age since I left. Of the eight folks I was thrown together with on day one, I am in infrequent touch with four of them, and then only due to Facebook. Yet I still feel a fierce affinity to the place, and to them. To the shops and streets and sand-blown alleys of that seaside town. To the whitewashed, crisscrossed hillside sprawl of academics that made my University hum, even in the wee-hours tappings of my nearly overdue assignments. To the love affair that I no longer talk or try to think about. Perhaps it is as well that I consign it to memory. As Percy Shelley once said, ‘there is a glass seal over my heart’. My memories are captured and preserved, and with delicately cupped hands I protect them, stow them and delve in to them during quiet times. Long may this continue.
© Tom Tide 2016