Life and loss imagined

2 Feb

When I was little, my family used to drive up to Toronto on weekends to have dim sum with the grandparents and cousins, and to pick up some Chinese groceries for the week. I didn’t want to go but once I was there I didn’t want to come back either. My mom would bribe me with Chinese candies and I’d drag my feet in our Toronto apartment, enjoying the plush carpeted floors while I could. These memories feel so far away, but also so familiar as if it could happen again this next weekend.

On the drive back I’d pop in cassette tapes of Fairy Tales – readings of silly and sometimes serious or creepy stories for kids – or Classical Music for Children – famous pieces done in synthesized beeps and boops. Being the youngest, I always wanted my brothers to be my friends, and I’d hope that they’d stay up on the car ride home and be in good enough moods to sing or joke with me. When everyone was too tired, I’d just look out the window at the stars and my mind would wander.

I’d think how amazing it was that the stars were so old and everyone sees the same ones. I’d think it’s strange how each of the other sets of headlights on the road had at least one person in them. I’d think how unbelievable it was that one day I’d be older and an adult and living a life somewhere. I wanted to live in an apartment with carpet and lots of Chinese sugared jellies and chocolate original Pocky. I wondered if my mom would still be nearby. I wondered if I’d still be alive when my mom died. I’d assume I would be, and I’d feel so sad that she would die one day that I’d start silently crying to myself while my mom, alive and well and unaware of her suddenly tearful distraught little daughter beside her, drove down the 401.

Obviously I’ve always been a sensitive kid. I grew up with anxiety, a healthy level usually but sometimes a little too much. It makes me indecisive but also careful and thoughtful. The trouble is I have a hard time telling when my worries are justified or when my mind is just getting away with itself.

I was driving through the ice sheets and snow today and my wipers were iced, useless. I was thinking about loss and feeling loss of things that haven’t happened. I’ve been mourning death of memories that haven’t been made, as if these moments once had life and now are sick, shriveling. There has been so much good and happiness in my life and in friendships but I find I’m wishing to have things returned to me that haven’t even happened. “Keep your promise!” I feel, out to life, the universe, or nothing. “I have lost!” I want help finding it, keeping it, preserving it before it’s all gone.

I’m not sad about anything that’s happened, which makes all this so strange. I’m so happy for everything. Yet I feel so much loss right now and I hope it’s just my mind getting away with itself but I think that I need to just let myself be quiet and let myself see that life continues to move and all it is in the end are memories made – lived, lost, and yearned for.

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2 Responses to “Life and loss imagined”

  1. Barbu February 2, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

    eloquently written. your words capture nostalgia in a vivid way, looking fondly on the past. i think you’re right about letting yourself be quiet, that it’s ok to just be and feel and see that life continues to move. well put.

  2. nervrom February 3, 2015 at 8:56 am #

    This is so wonderful. Reading about your silent tears in the car next to your mom reminded me so much of being a kid and doing the same. I still remember finding out that *everyone* dies eventually and not being able to wrap my head around it.

    I always have an itch to write about my childhood, and i always fall short when i try. This is so lovely.

    I too don’t know when my worries are justified. Still figuring that out. I love you.

Whutchu sayin'

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