This obstruction in my rain-peeping brought back mellow memories of an always drenched place, when not so long before I would watch the rain drizzle on the dark pines from my patio that gave way to a magical peek of the cloud shrouded Cascades. All this, of course, seems to be a far fetched dream now or at best something like Coleridge's blurry fragment.
But this sudden burst of uncontrollable nostalgia surprises me. Was I not the one who would relentlessly complain of the sodding rains then? Was I not the one who would vent rain-soaked rants here, there and everywhere? How, then, did the once annoying rains become so dear today? Of course, I am moulding and mending the unpleasant bits of past to suit my precarious present. I am beautifying the once desolate, rain-beaten landscape into something romantic. And nostalgia is always romantic.
As luck always has her own way of mocking you, she couldn't have shoved a more appropriate read my way - The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. Just a hundred and fifty pages, yet it manages to turn you round and round as if the whole time you were on a mean, never-ending roller coaster. Tony, the protagonist, takes us on a flashback journey, primarily a solipsistic one, where we meet his mates and their youthfully pretentious, philosophical takes on life. The plot thickens when the most "clever" of them, the Camus-quoting, always serious Adrian commits suicide. Justifying the title, Barnes makes sure we sense the end after a major twist, only to be further distracted by his unreliable narrator. Tony weaves people and plots from his foggy memoir that spans more than four decades, while all the time the reader sits on an edge doubting the selectivity of his memories. What we remember as the truth and what really is the truth are two very different things. With his patchwork of additions and subtractions, permutations and combinations, he finally arrives at the truth. One that could never be retold.
"How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts? And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge our account, to remind us that our life is not our life, merely the story we have told about our life. Told to others, but - mainly - to ourselves."
~ Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending