Bury Me in the Golden Light of a 1970s Photograph

A beautiful life, full of regret .

Adeline Dimond

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Photo from the author, Adeline Dimond

I blame the perfume commercials of the 1980s. Images of sports cars winding up dark roads with a couple in love, on their way to an old stone restaurant, where candles illuminated the moss. Or maybe I imagined the commercials, but the image still slides into my thoughts, like an old Kodak slide carousel that starts up unexpectedly, snapping through images of the life I was supposed to have.

As a child, I conjured up pictures of my future: there was a man, there was candlelight, there were scenes on porches in twilight, there were scenes during golden hour, like walking back to a house nestled in redwoods with a dog at my side. This slideshow made me certain that life was going to be mysterious and big; beautiful, sexy and both dark and warm; easy, locking together like puzzle. Now as an adult, these images pop up to remind me of all the things that didn’t happen, all the ways things turned out wrong.

But in childhood, these images reassured me that my life was going to be incredible. I had no evidence of this other than my imagination. There was nothing about my childhood that should have made me feel that way, and yet I was convinced that I would be desired (but not sure how) and I would be important (but not sure how). Life would be visually…

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