Way Back When: Forever Golden – The Real Life Edition.

My mind is currently a cluster of mindf*ck – not necessarily of the terrible sort, simply on overdrive – that it makes me desperately wanting to write, even when it sucks to do so using the iPad.

So here I am, quietly typing away in the dark, as usual, in a cozy hotel room in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It’s a walk down memory lane, this place, but not for me – for once, not for me. The past week has been a long and mighty eventful week which may or may not have panned out as I’d imagined it to be but despite the plenty hiccups, Alhamdulillah all the major items on the itinerary have been very smooth-sailing. I am forever more incredibly grateful.

Held my dad’s hand today as I guided him around town in the evening – his foot is hurting due to gout – and it made me wonder yet again, as I have a million times over this past week, as imperfect as our parents may be – how many times have they held our once tiny hands in this same way that I just did for him today? It is heartbreaking, impacting and moving, this incredibly simple realization: life is indeed a cycle. I feel the winds of change blowing my way once more, as usual, as I slowly but surely transition to the next chapter in my life; adulthood.

We are finally here, the place that brings them back to a time when and where memories of yesteryears seem to breathe to life again. It’s like they’re seeing their younger selves, a wholly separate life, as we drive through what are to them, familiar terrains. It makes me wonder, will I have tales of my own worth telling and remembering of my days in my undergraduate institution and perhaps, Stanford too later? It’s sometimes embarrassing, but deeply moving, to see them act like excited kids and talking nonstop, retelling stories from the past.

“This here is the street we used to walk; I’d push the stroller with your eldest sister in it,” Dad would say as the car zoomed past a part of the north campus. “If you take a turn at that street,” chips Mum to my cousin as he drove us around, “You’ll find the old kindergarten Jane’s brother used to attend.” Small stories, hardly significant, but so permanently etched in their minds.

It reminds me that I’ve also just left behind the apartment and everything related to it. It hurts to dwell too much about goodbyes, especially when those that actually count are far and few when they occur. In reality, goodbyes are mostly awkward and speedy; too many things are happening at a given time, too many people, that the things one really wants to say are lost in all that chaos. It hurts to remember the small, insignificant to everyone but myself, details of my life in Philly and that apartment where so many good things, conversations and memories had taken place. I remember my daily 10 minutes walk to and from campus, walking on the poorly maintained sidewalks with my headphones draped over my head, all the while thinking and mulling about anything and everything. I remember the plentiful conversations that had taken place in the common room on Friday nights last quarter, of more meaningful and honest conversations which took place between the three of us in the duration of two years we’d lived there together. We are whatever personas we put on outside of 417 but once inside, neatly tucked and cozily settled in – those remain my favorite moments of the three of us, always. Just as how my parents are remembering their youth some 30-odd years ago here at Ann Arbor, Michigan – I wonder, truly I do, the sort of stories I’ll be telling, if ever.

Recalling those crazy days of frantically trying to plan and squeeze this brief stop en route to San Francisco where the future holds – I’m so glad I made the decision to make this happen and thus, put in the effort to see it through. I’m so happy that I did it, despite my occasional bitching then, because my parents are so happy to be here. Despite not being able to walk much now and tiring easily, they insist on treading the extra steps today.

Tomorrow we will visit the grave of my late brother, twin to Second Bro. I’ve of course, never met him as he left us at a young age years before I was born, but I grew up to tales about him. When I was younger, I used to imaginarily converse with him in my mind; now I think of him rather like a guardian angel, watching over us, the family because Mum always tells us how incredibly kind-hearted he was even as a kid that it’s no wonder he returned to His side so soon. Mum is also the only one who knows exactly where his grave is so my being with her this visit – it’s significant not only because of obvious reasons, but because it’s like passing on a family heirloom. I’ll be the next guardian and keeper.

I’ve a million thoughts on my mind, none of which appeared in this entry, ironically. I’m currently in the moment, in transition, in the high-speed motions of this thing called life and as always, forever the observer, listener and witness. My lenses – they won’t quite be the same once this graduation trip wraps, this much I’m certain.

The winds of change feel strangely comforting this time around, despite it’s strong gust.

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