It must have been the winter of 2005 when I went with friends to Place des Arts in Montreal to take in the winter festivities. I distinctly remember having roasted chestnuts for the first time then. We bought them from a street vendor and they came in a hot paper bag.
I had no idea what they were, but I think my friend got excited by seeing them. I’m sure it was her idea to get them. I’m glad we did.
Tonight was the first time since then that I’ve had chestnuts. I went grocery shopping for a Christmas dinner and saw them in a bin at the grocery store. I got excited and bought about a pound of them.
They weren’t as good as I envisioned them being. I bought too many. I would’ve been okay with about 4 or 5. Maybe it’s because I roasted them in an oven in a warm apartment in Toronto. They were missing the magic that I associated with them. Maybe it was just the absence of a warm paper bag.
What was best about these chestnuts, some ten years later, is that they brought me back to a time in my life that was pretty good. I had a lot of fun through university, and I made some really good friends. I only ever see a few of them anymore, but I’ve not forgotten about many of them.
When I bought a pound of chestnuts, I was hoping to engage a memory of a time long gone. All I needed was just a taste of what it was like to walk through the freezing streets of downtown Montreal with good friends, stopping to warm ourselves with a single bag of chestnuts that we shared among us.
I bit my cheek something serious this time, bringing me straight out of that memory and right here, into the life that the life I once led has brought me to.