Sometimes you get lucky in life because life gives you a second chance to revisit your past and allows you to make amends in the present before it is too late.
Sometimes a chance conversation will dredge up little things. Things which you have forgotten; of images buried deep in the recesses of your mind.
When that happens, it’s like reopening a window and peering into the past. And once that window is opened, it’s like being shoved into a giddy vortex. How far down you go or how quick you resurface largely depends on how much you dare to delve.
Memories can be dark things. Murky stuff that shows up in clear light.
Ever since I started writing on this blog, I have found myself actively seeking out memory-markers – things, events, words, pictures – which could trigger some kind of recollection of my past.
The funny thing is that, regardless of the years, we tend to remember very well — the bad, the shameful, the hateful, the loathsome. We shudder at the recklessness, the what-could-have-happened-but-Thank-God-it-didn’t scenarios. We scowl at the cruel words hurled; careless, cutting, deliberate.
But it’s the little things that slip through the shutters.
Little things like, how my grandmother would help me hand-sew the fussy hems and trimmings for my Home Science assigment just so that I can have the extra time studying for my exams (which I promptly squandered reading a Mills & Boons novel instead).
Little things like, how my father would insist on assuming control of my school science projects, resulting in something that was so over-designed and over-the-top, it was embarassing. I was the only kid in class and possibly, the whole school who handed in a 3D topographic map with an exploding volcano which was made possible by pouring vinegar onto the baking soda placed inside the volcano.
Little things like, how my grandfather would sit next to me and insist that I learn how to write in old-fashioned cursive “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” until I get it perfect.
Little things like, how my mother would wake up at 5AM to wash the clothes, hang them to dry, rush to make breakfast, see us off to school before hurrying off to work; most days, I now recall, with breakfast in her bag. And on some days, she would come home, breakfast still in her bag, which she would hand over to me to devour greedily while she prepared lunch. It never occurred to me to ask why she came home with breakfast still in her bag.
These are the little things that now matter the most to me. Because I realized today how much they were sacrifices of love.
Today’s chance meeting with a stranger made me regret the unkind words, the impatience, the indifference. It also reminded me that I am loved very much eventhough love shown by my closest and dearest, is not overtly in a way I know how, but in a very subtle way; purely because that is the only way they knew how.