A rush of relief took over me after my doctor validated the clear outcomes of my lab tests. He took out his stationery and started writing down the drinks I have to stay away from for the meantime. To my dismay, he penned out Coke, fruit juice, green tea, milk tea. Then he ended with the reminder ‘No vinegar with any dish. And refrain from consuming spicy foods.’ (Oh No!)
“You are not saving me, Doc. You are killing me.”
“It’ll only be for a while. You can do it.” He handed me the prescriptions, smiling. He seemed to be taking delight in the torture I’m about to undergo from the crucifying prohibitions.
I pouted. He continued smiling. Nope, we weren’t flirting. My beloved doctor is gay (though married with kids). I am quite fond of him nevertheless because he’s the doctor I get along with best and one of the finest in his field. “Be a good patient, Marj.” He nudged me.
“Okay, when will I come back?”
“There’s nothing wrong with you. Your hyperacidity is the one causing the problem. Simply follow doctor’s orders and come back only when something else starts troubling you.”
Wonderful doctor. I wanted to hop hop hop with joy going home. When your doctor gives you a clean bill of health, all the other pleasant contents of your life pale in comparison.
He also advised me to take things easier. Peak season in our academy ended last week of August, so I decided to take a two-week vacation. My bosses understood and gave the go signal. Woo hoo, things are really going well. My plan: Stay home and get down to the long-awaited project of spring cleaning my tiny apartment. Ruthless purging of stuff definitely included. It’s about time.
The day after, I went up to the small mezzanine upstairs where I’ve been storing most of my remaining accumulated possessions. CDs, cassette tapes, books, cut-out magazine articles, gifts of schmaltzy significance, a small number of knick knacks too cute to lose… Yup, most of these things I have already outgrown yet the impudence to toss them away evaded me for the longest time.
Rolling up my sleeves, I braced for the relentless task. I do this at least once a year. But does it ever get easy for the hopeless sentimental fool that I am? Me who gets attached to anything or anyone that impinges upon my heart?
So I got down to work. For a few days, I looked over at my belongings, unearthing things carrying bastion of memories which proceeded to seize my mind of days gone by. ‘Must I get rid of this once and for all?’ was the prevailing question I struggled with in an effort to downsize my stuff. The process wasn’t easy but I managed to finally say goodbye to a few things that don’t hold meaning for me anymore.
“Our memories dust our belongings with a sheen of importance they could never achieve by themselves.” -Anonymous
And then, I got to the photos.. Heartwarming and poignant were the images of me and my son together at random periods in our lives. Some made me smile. Some made me want to cry. Things were certainly a lot different when a child was still someone their mother could carry in her arms.
Belonging to that era were instances when I got consumed by the saddling responsibility of bringing up a child alone. My son’s father who seemed to be slipping in and out of our lives intermittently induced emotional ups and downs in me which resulted to my not having the perfect frame of mind to always appreciate every bit of precious moments I had with my baby boy. I was young. I didn’t realize time would slip away so soon.
Certain episodes in our lives our younger minds then wouldn’t allow to realize their weight in gold.
Now I can go along for a freefall into the dreams of my yesterdays.. And if I lose my sense of bearings every now and then, I’ll simply indulge on these images that illuminate the greatest love my whole existence has ever known.
Without forgetting to take a handful of joy to bring to my future when I’m old and gray.
Photographs and memories
All the love you gave to me
Somehow it just can’t be true
That’s all I’ve left of you..
Memories that come at night
Take me to another time
Back to a happier day
When I called you mine. – Jim Croce