Bouts of Nostalgia
When my son was a teenager, we watched Grease together. I had last seen the movie decades earlier, when it first came to theaters. Back then, I was deeply impressed. My friends and I even started a girls’ club called the Pink Ladies.
I CAME ACROSS a bagful of novels and poems I had written as a child and in my early teens. I made the mistake of reading them and discovered that you can blush with embarrassment even when no one else is around.
I had gone to a great deal of trouble: I had written the stories and poems by hand with a pencil or a felt-tip pen. I had also written the back cover copy and drawn the illustrations. I have never been good at drawing.
ONE OF THE NOVELS was titled Heart on the Sleeve. The main character, a girl named Svetla, has a brother called Dmitri and a mother who marries Mr. Stambolof, a mean-natured man. He has “murky brown hair and a nose sharp like a knife.”
The two siblings run away from home and lose one another on the way. They are reunited a few years later. Dmitri recognizes his sister by her heart-shaped necklace—as if she has otherwise become completely unrecognizable in just a few years.
I wasn’t able to finish reading the story. I just browsed here and there.
FOR SOME REASON, nearly all the characters in the stories have foreign names. I seem to have been particularly fond of Hungarian, Romanian, and Bulgarian names. The stories are attempts at romance novels:
“I don’t need your charity,” Nadia hissed in the dim light of a streetlamp.
“Not even my charity?” the man asked, sneering.
Nadia’s cold stare measured him from head to toe.
“You are overestimating your charm,” she said.
SHOULD I CONTINUE? No.
Instead, I will present you with one of the poetry collections I wrote as a teenager. The collection is aptly and unaffectedly called Poems, and the main piece is titled “You don’t know.”
I desperately tried to find signs of budding literary inclinations in my first efforts, but found only a few. I liked “beds of rainbows” in one of my early poems and may actually use it later—although I’m not sure about “beds.”
Anyway, thank you, my adolescent alter ego.
© Anna-Leena Harkonen 2022
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