The skies were blue, clear blue with not a cloud in it. Mountains were in the distance, familiar yet foreign. To me, they were paintings I could not touch and only see.
I stood back down from the seven inch wall heater and looked away from the window. As I made my way out of the bathroom, I heard someone mumbling downstairs amidst the sound of the television. My father was in the family room, watching television, while my mother was cooking dinner. All that was on my mind was how nice the blue skies were and what laid beyond the rooftops just over yonder.
Twenty five years later, I stood on that exact same mountain while the gondolas zoomed up and down on the thick cables every few minutes. Before me, I could see the conglomerate of cities, the airport, the island mountains beyond the strait and Mount Baker in the far distance shrouded in a thin layer of smog. My friends are around me, chatting, laughing, admiring the scenery while I think back to my youth, where I was down there somewhere looking up here and wondering.
Perspective. It’s all perspective and I love perspective.
I love seeing places in photos and videos where I’ve been to and then seeing those same places again in videos and photos from other people. ‘This’ was the place where my mother held me, while my father took a picture of us when I was just two years old. ‘This’ was the place where my parents were when I was still in my mother’s stomach. ‘This’ was where my brother was when he walked up to the podium to receive his graduation paper.
‘This’ was also the place I parked my car at night to hear a friend had passed away. ‘This’ was also the location where I had to break her heart because our relationship didn’t work out.
We pass by these locations every day. Most of us take them for granted and most of us just don’t care, but I hold onto my memories so longingly and I hold onto these places as if I have died and is haunting them. I guess it is my way of honouring those experiences.
Sometimes, I sit at a location and just breathe in the air while looking at various places around me. I think about the memories I’ve had there, like the time five of us were sitting at the picnic table down near the school and had a long night of D&D, story telling, jokes and pranks. That was in the summer of 1996. It also made me think about the time when we were still in our senior year of high school, walking back to school from lunch and a girl walked up to me and wanted to meet up later, just for my friends to give me broad smirks and me telling them to stop imagining things.
Imagine that you’re riding a bus and you come across an etch on a pole or a wall that you or your friend etched many years before. How would you feel? What if you saw a carving of “X ♥ Y” that you made of your lover two decades ago? How would you feel when you see it?
I am half way through the third decade of my life and my friends are all over the place and all over the world pursuing their dreams, their goals, their families. I am still here, like ‘the heart’ waiting for their news. Like a father hoping their sons and daughters would return home one day. It’s a sad, yet invigorating feeling.
“I am the only one left.”
My friends at times, call me and tell me about their lives and most of them have one thing in common. That is, they wish they are back here. I tell them, “As long as life allows me the time, I will be here when you come back.”
A few months ago, I spoke with a long lost friend whom I hadn’t spoken to since 2001. That’s thirteen years that we hadn’t spoken to each other. A lot of self reflecting and a lot of soul searching happened in those thirteen years. In short, we apologized to each other.
I think it’s important to realize this: even if everyone has a separate journey, there is always going to be a starting point. Don’t ever forget that and don’t ever change yourself so much that you completely leave that starting point.
I changed as a person, growing older every moment, became tamer, more humble and much more considerate of my friends. However, what will always stay the same are the starting points that connected us all.