I wasn't feeling all that great as I was driving home from work today. My throat was a bit sore and my ear ached; nothing serious but enough to make me really look forward to getting home. It was a grey day, the sort of day where evening comes on fast, and as I pulled into our neighbourhood, the lights were already starting to come on in our little local mall, smoke was curling out of chimneys as people battled another day of -10, and the snow still lay all around from Sunday's storm.
I was suddenly struck with the joyful and comforting premonition that I would arrive home to find all the lights blazing welcomingly in the house, a fire crackling, and my mom in my kitchen, cooking rouladen and spaetzle, with the tantalizing aroma of slow-cooked beef and homemade noodles striking me as I opened the door.
I was well aware that my mom was not at my house, that her rouladen and spaetzle cooking days were long over by the time we moved into this house, but the vision was so intense and seemed so real and so certain that I felt all nostalgic, nostalgic for something that never was.
I remember feeling that way whenever I looked at a traditional German advent calendar we had when I was young. It was a shop-filled street in a town somewhere. It was a night scene and all the shop windows were lit up and filled with delightful looking toys that I longed for. Saint Nicholas - the rather stern-looking German one, not the jiggly Coca Cola Santa Claus - was riding in a carriage down the street in this town with children runnng to catch up to him. I remember that advent calendar filling me with the same longing for a past I have never known, feeling that same sense of deja vu for something that never was.
What causes a person to feel something like that? Is it just wishful thinking caused by a weak moment (like when we are tired of being the mom and we want our mom to take over again), is it our subconscience tapping into a collective tribal memory, is it our weary brains escaping into a place of comfort for a short while?
Maybe it's a tumour..