The Unchanging Past

Friday, October 29, 2021


Today as I was browsing through the endless array of TikTok videos in an attempt to wash away the hectic workday, I stumbled on a video in which a girl asks "if you could relive one day in your life, exactly as it was, what day would that be." The idea was so beautiful and yet challenging at the same time. Was there a day in my life, that I would relive exactly as it was without changing a single second? At first, I panicked because I could not recall a single memory that I would want to relive, but after some calm speculation, dozens of memories floated through my mind.

I became lost in a sea of warm memories as the camcorder in my mind began playing various days. I would swing back and forth among these beautiful memories, each competing for a space in my mind at exactly the same time. My heart would race and relax with each new visual as it flooded my chest with soothing happiness over the heartfelt moments and aching sadness at the reminder of the moment having since passed.

What struck out the most about these hauntingly pleasant moments was that I shared them with the ones I loved and held dearest to my heart. It was special moments with those incredible beings in my life that made those memories so beautiful and special. However, a part of my mind would still try to make the moment even better by conjuring up corrections and omitting certain portions, or changing the circumstances that brought me in that space of time in the first place. But that would mean losing the magic of that special circumstance that happened among all the imperfections surrounding it. 

One such instance that I remember vividly is my trip to Barbados in 2014. My flight to the Caribbean with my mother was meant to be an exciting new beginning in my professional trajectory via the beginning of my medical education in a tropical paradise. I was dreaming of this moment since I applied in the summer of 2014. I excitedly had paid my deposits and was working so that I could save money for the expensive costs of attending a medical school abroad. However, around October, my prospects suddenly shifted as my mother introduced me to an unexpected marriage proposal that popped up out of nowhere. My paths suddenly shifted in a way that I dropped my plans of going to medical school in order to consider this marriage proposal instead. This guy had no idea what I was giving up for him and as it turned out, it wouldn't matter even if he did. 

As it would happen, my plane tickets to the island were non-refundable so I convinced my mother to fly down anyway for a surprise holiday instead and take my sister with us. Instead of traveling to the final destination, however, we opted to stop in Barbados and explore there. This turned out to be an experience of a lifetime. The turquoise water kissing the soft white sand beaches quickly became one of my favorite places on earth. The warm breeze flowing in from the ocean caressed my skin and melted away any concerns I felt about my future. With my toes buried in the sand, I became fully present. I was determined to enjoy my life in the now. I was bathed in a sense of calm where the world around me slowed and I was forced to acknowledge my existence in this newfound paradise. But it wasn't the land alone that won my heart, so did the people and cuisine. 

I tried dolphin fish for the first time with rice and my senses were elated with the new tastes. The sound of the waves rolling became my lullaby for the next few nights. We explored every inch of that island and the water surrounding it. On the second day, we booked a snorkeling day trip on a catamaran with a local whose sun-kissed skin and lazy smile guided us into the cool waters where I encountered sea turtles for the first time. Being my first time snorkeling, he gently guided me around except for that one moment where he terrified me after he dove deep into the water and disappeared into an underwater cave for several minutes. My panicked splashing stopped when I suddenly heard his laughter from the other side of the boat from where he swam towards me calmly but with ease, his muscles glistening in the sunlight. Apparently, there was an air pocket in the cave where he stopped for air before returning to the surface and it was his special trick for na├»ve tourists. 

Unfortunately, the heat overcame me to a point I had to lay on the catamaran while everyone else on the tour continued to snorkel in the various regions the boat took us to before we stopped for lunch. Although I regretted missing out on the fun, it was very soothing swaying on the boat covered in the shade as the salty water cooled my skin and I watched the occasional fluffy could leisurely float by. 

Eventually, our tour came to an end. Everyone hopped off the boat thanking our wonderful guide for the memorable experience. As my legs awkwardly wobbled as I climbed off the boat, our guide stood by us saying his goodbyes. He leaned in to give me a hug so I smiled, readying myself to return it. However, as I came close enough, I felt an arm suddenly grab my back and I was pulled in for a quick warm kiss that left me stunned. I stumbled away, my mind blank, still processing what had just happened. I quickly glanced around to make sure my mother wasn't there to witness this spectacle. My sister and I laughed as we headed back to the hotel recalling all the wonderful events that had just passed. 

All in all, it is a bittersweet process digging up the past because it starts the process of overthinking and my mind has an uncanny ability of tainting even the best of my moments. So I sit and appreciate the happenstances of my past for the fleeting moment they appear in my thoughts in the same way I hold old photographs or cringe watching myself in home videos. 

Until Next Time,

1 comment:

  1. I love the way you express your emotions. What a lovely memory.


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