Memories of Rooftops in Edinburgh

by Nicole Trilivas

Today I was daydreaming about my travels. So many of my memories have been distilled, cropped, and filtered into 3×5 glossy photographs–gorgeous photos that define the trips I’ve taken. It’s hard remember the things that weren’t photographed. And that’s why some of the photos aren’t gorgeous. Because they are just there to remember.

This is what it feels like to live your life exactly how you want to

This is what it feels like to live your life exactly how you want to live it

I took this photo out the window of my attic room in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I had been working in New York City for a few years and living at home to save money for something that I was too scared to articulate. It turns out that I was saving money for that exact moment: to be 25, hanging outside a dirty flat window, in Edinburgh, Scotland where I decided to move for a few weeks to write full time. I took that photo after staying up all night, drinking and talking and laughing and being young and reckless and free. That was the first time in my adult life that I was living the life I wanted on my own dime, on my own terms. This is an important photograph for me only because it was taken at an important time.

For so long now, I had wanted to be a writer. I have wanted it so bad that it hurts like a sucker punch to the belly, to the lower, intimate bit where the pink organs beat. I have wanted it so bad that I have hot and frenzied dreams about it, and to wake up is devastating. I have wanted it so badly that I taste it, in that choking lump in the base of the throat that you feel when you’re trying not to cry or when you take a pill without water; I taste it in the dry, tight feeling of wanting that spreads over my tongue, my lungs, the inside of my mouth.

Tonight I dream of rooftops to remember, with or without pictures, that we are a brave people. We want with all of our skin. We change our mind, but the things we keep thinking about–the things we don’t need pictures to remember or the replacement things we photograph to trick ourselves into remembering–that’s what matters. And we breathe that in and we breathe that out and we use that to push those chalky lumps down our throats. And then we remember that the sound of fingertips moving across a keyboard is the most beautiful sound in the world.

Rest easy tonight, wherever you may be.