The sun is shining, the birds are singing and for the first time all year, I don’t have socks on. Tugging at your sleeve, I exclaim, “We should go to the park!” Looking up at you with a smile that stretches from ear to ear, my eyes twinkling with a child-like glee, resistance is futile. You nod, shaking your head with a smile and grabbing the keys. I can’t help but giggle as I watch your wrinkles turn into laughter lines, your face breaking out into a grin to match mine. You can’t help it, it’s contagious. The best ones always are.
I skip ahead along the stone path, turning every so often to beckon to you. My arms in the air, basking in the sun’s rays without a care in the world. A dog approaches me, tail wagging and ears perked up. I coo at it, completely oblivious to the fact that its owner is running after it in frustration and I am the most unwelcome distraction possible at that very moment. A few belly rubs and ear scratches later, my new canine friend continues on its merry way.
You look at me in sheer exasperation, “You haven’t changed one bit.” You laugh along with me as I show you my favourite spot in the flower garden at the heart of the park. We both spreadagle on the grass, belly laughs erupting from deep within as we make imaginary snow angels.
Sighing with a deep contentment, I fold my arms behind my head, squinting in the sun’s glare. The last time we did this was ten years ago. When we were innocent ducklings who knew no better. When we knew how to really play – something only a child is capable of. Oh, how time has flown.
You turn to me, telling me how much you’ve needed this. How desperately you’ve needed time out from the stresses of daily life. From studying, from work, from the tumultuous relationships you’ve often found yourself caught up in. Your eyes flutter shut and a heavy sigh escapes you. Then, you turn to me and ask, “How have you been?”
Talking to you is like opening a time capsule. Amidst the gossip about our old classmates – who’s getting married, who’s taken a completely different career path from what they set out to do at graduation – all the memories come flooding back. Funny anecdotes that make me laugh until I cry, all the “do you remember when” stories, and the regrets we have now that we’re older and slightly wiser. It’s like looking into a magic time-travelling mirror and seeing her. That version of myself who knew what she wanted in life – only now, she wears clear glasses instead of rose-tinted ones.
But that’s exactly what life is. Building up a series of time capsules, one after the other as we get older. Every so often, something or someone comes along and we open one of them. We cherish the memories it contains, and remember what they meant to us at the time. Then, we put it back and go forth in our lives with the lesson we learned from it. All the struggles we face now, the fear of what will happen in the future – will be nothing more than a faded memory in the distance one day. Buried in a time capsule we’ve forgotten about whilst we’ve been busy making new memories.
Believe it or not, that’s all life is. It’s a walk in the park, isn’t it?
Oh man, it’s good to see you guys again. I’ve just finished exams and I have missed you all so much! This post was inspired recently – I went to the park with a book and some headphones (you know, because I actually have the time to do things like that now). Whilst experimenting with some photography, I felt inspired and decided to write a little piece to go with the photos. I have left the photos unedited (except the last one) to keep things as authentic as possible. This is dedicated to my friends – those I’ve really gotten to know, those who have supported me and those I’ve reconnected with recently – I might not be great at saying it but you all mean so much to me. This one’s for you.
Seriously though, it feels great to get the creative juices flowing again. If you’ve had exams recently, you know how draining it can be and how easy it is to feel like a walking zombie sometimes. If you’re still in the middle of exams, I wish you the best of luck (not that you need it) and I hope you ace them! Until next time – you go girl.
Disclaimer: All images used in this post were photographed and edited by J, exclusively for thenellybean.