It's probably some subconscious thing which wove itself into my mind from watching things like Lady and the Tramp as a child, but I've always thought it to be one of the most beautiful-looking things. Simple, rustic, and the way the light glows behind the green glass as the bottles are stacked in front of one another... it's magical.
Tonight, I lit them for the first in a very long time, and even before I caught a whiff of the vanilla fragrance, I knew what it would do to me.
I felt the sickening, clammy-palmed, narrow throat feeling of the Phase yanking back all the half-forgotten memories of a time not so far away within my past. When I recall a phase it always seems to upset me, often more so, in fact, if the memory is a happy one... yet I don't think I'll ever stop Phasing.
Suddenly my mind was hurled back to eight months prior, and I saw everything surrounded in the phase to which the candles were a key signifier of.
Firstly it was The Interesting Boys, or more precisely Jasper (Who I feel has had more of a profound impact on my personality than I'd care to admit.) I saw the first time we ever met, outside the campus pub as I hassled a stranger, the party of theirs I crashed the next day, I saw all the times I went round theirs to get drunk with them and play ridiculous music til 5am, every time they came round here for parties or just to sit and get drunk, laughing by candlelight. I saw every adventure we'd been on together; when we saw Who Framed Roger Rabbit on campus, Study Abroad Meetings, when Charles took me to Oxford University to see his brother, when we all went to Poland together... A chance friendship sparked from an accidental encounter that has resulted in some of the best moments of my entire year.
...And now it's the end of the year, and they are all graduating.
Next year, I will not have My Interesting Boys.
The candles also reminded me of the time just before Christmas.
When everyone still got along, and my days were filled with a morning Starbucks then heading off eagerly to my classes, filling my notepads with knowledge and notes that excited and inspired me, watching endless Classic Hollywood movies from the 1940's and 1950's and getting way too immersed into it all, floating through the aisles of my second home - first introduced to me by Jasper - The Fleetville Vintage Emporium, and spending way too much money on the most exquisite antiques and knick-knacks, with, of course, afternoon tea.
All of that feels a lifetime away from what my life is like now.
As I was scrolling back through my old pictures for this post/just letting myself wallow in self-piteous pining for a lost time, I found myself getting sadder and sadder and how things have changed since I started Uni this year, when it feels like no time has passed at all.
And.... what's next?
The Future, as I've always said, thrills me to the absolute core, and I cannot wait to get out there and start living the life I've always dreamed of. But moments like this completely derail me. The future, actually, is an absolutely terrifying prospect. I feel like I'm wandering into the mist with my hands out, feeling blindly in front of me.
All these memories from this year, which I am now pining for because they were so amazing, never ever would have happened, if I had just signed my name on that little slip of paper, and dropped out of University. Something which I was a hair's breadth away from doing.
That hit me like a slap in the face.
Right then, at that moment in time, my future was indecipherable, each decision hanging by a thread. I had no idea what I was doing, where I was going or if I was even doing the right thing, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not cast my minds eye into the future and see where would be best for me. So I took a chance. And the measure of just how wistful I am now, of all the beautiful and unexpected things that have happened since then, is enough for me to know that I made the right choice.
And that made me realise two things at once:
1. The future is supposed to be confusing, open-ended and full of mist - no-one is supposed to know how it all goes. That's the beauty of it. When you don't know what's going on, anything that happens is unexpected and beautiful.
2. Every time I stop to think about my position in life, it always seems as though I'm stuck in a period of longing for the past and impatiently waiting for the future, with nothing else going on at that time. But it's only then that you realise that's exactly what the 'present' is. The Present is living the future, whilst creating the past.
This year I have done the most incredible things of my entire life, and built the solid foundations of a (hopefully) very successful future, just by investing my time in curating myself. The future is not my enemy, neither need be the past. To see the full photo album of a montage of my past academic year at Uni, click on this sentence right here.