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  • "Did it make you nostalgic?"

    "Nostalgic?" I repeated, surprised.

    "Yeah. Nostalgic... Is that a word?"

    "It is," I said slowly.

    "I probably used it the wrong way."

    "No," I rushed to reassure him. "That was perfect! I'm just thinking."

    I didn't expect the word from the boy. The question. Granted, my nephew was every day closer to a man, but I remembered his first words and toddling steps, wiping his tears and wiping his…. When did he grow up?

    Did he mean it? Did he really mean it? Did he want to know if I longed for days past? Did I want to know?

    I had changed so much over the past year. Physically. Emotionally. On a daily basis, I strained to recognize the girl in the mirror, the one in photographs, and that was the easy part. My hopes, dreams, and fears, my expectations and attitude had shifted so quickly, and even with my arms open wide, I struggled to find purchase.

    I didn't want to go back. I didn't miss the way things were. Frankly, they weren't all that great at the time, and I wasn't that girl anymore. That woman. I didn't regret her but I sure as shooting didn't want to be her.

    Still, there was something…

    Bittersweet recognition coursed through my veins. I considered the life I once thought I wanted and hope for the life that I still might have. I wondered how I might put all that into words we'd both understand. I tried, stuttered, and stalled.

    "What does it mean, anyway?" my nephew asked. "'Nostalgic?'"

    "It means longing for…." I shook my head. "I'm not sure, honey. I'm really not sure."
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