I miss strange things about the city. I miss the sunrise in spring, when the first rays of dawn sparkle in the windows washed clean by April showers overnight. I miss the heat in summer, when everyone sheds their coat and smiles in the street.
I miss the fall of leaves in early October, when the wet pavements shimmer like rivers of molten bronze. I miss the hustle and bustle in the run up to Christmas, although this period gets longer every year. I remember when it didn’t begin until the days before Christmas arrived.
It’s inevitable that I miss strange things, things that didn’t exist the last time I walked the streets, yet things that have caught my fascination all the same. Sleek motor cars. Neon signs. Maps displayed on handheld devices. A city and its people change over the course of a year, but they become unrecognisable over the course of a century.
Most of the time I just drift through time and space, unthinking and unfeeling as a shadow. The world passes me by and I don’t even notice, much less care. There’s not a lot to do but let it pass. I exist in a haze of forgetfulness, unable to even remember that I have forgotten anything. I simply am.
Remembrance is a powerful thing, and once a year I regain something that resembles my soul. The outpouring from the living confers a shred of life, and I am aware of the world. I walk the streets of my city and learn its new ways, and mourn its losses.
Yet through all of that, I remember the pain, and the mud, the awful food, and the endless cold. I remember the end of my life in a desolate place. Yet I also remember the nobility. The sense of standing up for others. The camaraderie. The adventures. The anticipation at being sent away from the Front, and the dread at being sent back.
Midnight strikes and the blessed relief of forgetfulness sets in for another year, but I know that others shall not forget.