By Claire Guyton
We get just one shot so we have to be right. And we have to agree.
I can’t argue that the 1970s was a pretty decade. Too much papier maché, paisley, macramé. Every woman I knew took a class in macramé. And it wasn’t a peaceful time. Kent State. Vietnam. Watergate.
He’ll say it should be the ’60s because life—for us, anyway—was easy, then. We were so young, our lives so small. That’s when we were happiest. We were but it’s because we were blind.
In the ’80s we had the kids, he’ll say. They were so stunning, what a miracle. I remember the day each one came to us like it was yesterday, that clear, that complete.
So do I, I will tell him, oh so do I. So complete that I haven’t edited out the back pain, the swollen ankles, feeling like a split melon. Then the 2:00 AM feedings, the colic, budding teeth. And the fear. So much fear. I wouldn’t trade the kids for anything, I wouldn’t trade a minute of raising them. But relive those years? No.
He’ll want to know why. Of all the decades we’ve seen why the 1970s? Why do it again?
My hair. Do you remember how I wore my hair?
I remember Three Mile Island and Love Canal. I remember getting in line at the gas station three blocks down. I remember Jimmy Carter’s sweater. And Iran, those hostages in Iran.
You want to go back to the 1970s because of the way you wore your hair?
Do you remember that day at the beach? Cape Hatteras? The water was too rough for swimming and the rocks hurt my feet. We stayed high on the sand, slept on those old towels, forgot to use sun block. We were just out of school, just awake. 1971 and we thought we had figured things out.
Somebody was blasting The Doors but it was far away so we could talk but we were so drowsy, we whispered our plans. We would march, we said. We would organize. We could change the world and we had our whole lives to do it. The sun was so heavy, we were drunk on it. You leaned into me, buried your head in my neck, and when I bent to kiss you my hair fell over us both like a silk scarf, that long, long hair, almost to my knees.
That’s what I’ll tell him, that story, all about that day on the beach. I could shower in your hair, he’d said. I could live under it my whole life.
He’ll remember how he felt then.
Claire Guyton is a Maine writer, editor, and writing coach. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Crazyhorse, Mid-American Review, River Styx, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and Atticus Review; and in the Maine story anthology Summer Stories (Shanti Arts, 2013). She was a Maine Arts Commission Literary Fellow, and holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts.