wish you were here

This past semester, I’ve been experiencing intermittent fits of nostalgia, bouts that are somewhere between deja vu and wishful thinking. I’ve tried to translate them into throwback playlists, phone calls to old friends, picking up old habits… But so far, nothing seems appropriate.

It is only now that I’m discovering my fear of writing about these nostalgic moments. There is something about describing them that seems daunting – as if, once I write them off, they will cease to exist. And the fear signifies that I don’t want them to disappear.

It is also now that I realize: I can’t even begin to write about these moments. Aside from fear, there aren’t even words that are worthy enough. These moments cannot be described through a compilation of images, of specificities.

For example, I could say that walking down Shattuck way past Dwight to a discrete, little beauty salon “reminds” me of being back in SoCal in the Little Manila on Amar when I’m en route to getting my eyebrows done. And I could also say that the weather was both musky and clean, much like summers in the 626. And that there was something hazily orange about that day, like everything was saturated and washed out by sun all at once.

But, even pieced together, that can’t create my real experience walking down Shattuck, feeling like I was back home.

Still… all the while, maybe, the beauty of never telling something exactly like it is, simply because it’s an impossible task, is what makes words and images so worth creating.

The urge to shape this nostalgia into something a bit more tangible is so strong.


from where

WEST COVINA is a suburb where hardly anything ever happens, aside from the pseudo-events fabricated by bored and privileged teens who channel their angst through hiking modest, rumored-to-be-haunted trails and getting shit-faced at the summit and then proceed to smoke hookah in their parents’ garage, talking about raving and plur life, their vape pens and new trap tracks on SoundCloud from Los Angeles-based DJs who are friends of friends (supposedly), and they rejoice when they find out HARD Summer is in El Monte because that’s before dtLA and thus closer to West Co but they reiterate that they’d still be down to drive to the “city” if need be, because “small town syndrome” has got them down and WEST COVINA is a suburb where hardly anything ever happens, but in reality there’s not much to complain about because West Covina is not Valencia, is not Pomona, is not Upland, and thus “small town syndrome” is an overstated phenomenon in our “suburb” because dtLA is 20 minutes away with slight traffic, and we all have cars