We moved to a much smaller house in the suburb two years ago after selling our six bedroom Edwardian property in the country. The place was too big for just the two of us. It was a hell to clean and even more difficult to heat up properly. Period houses are money pits that demand bottomless pockets and tireless enthusiasm from the owners. We found out we lack the dedication and the courage to keep up.
Moving the contents of a bigger space to a smaller one proved to be impossible. We get rid of all the furniture and sold most of the trimmings. The ones that nobody wanted to buy, we donated to charity, but still our new garage is full to the brim it is an ordeal to navigate in there. Day by day we try to sort things out, keep what we need and get rid of the rest. I found out that those that carry emotional values are the ones that hard to say goodbye to, I still have bunch of silk flowers and plants lined up on a top of a big picnic table together with vases, candles and candle holders, figurines, books, albums, videos and cds. Throwing them away is like throwing all your experiences, deleting your past life, erasing your memories. As if you trying to start fresh as someone else.
The other day I opened one of the boxes to sort out and I found this small yellow stone on top of a pile of ledgers from previous courses. It has very fine yellow crystals, probably quartz. They shimmer under a light or in the sun. The stone is beautifully nondescript and unusually singular. I never seen another stone like it. But what makes it more special is the story behind it and the person who gave it to me.
Arjay was just a boy from the neighborhood. One of those children who accompany me wherever I go whether I like it or not. He was the first to jump in a tricycle if I was about to go somewhere, most of the times without permission from his parents. Only now I did realize the seriousness of the situation. I was the only adult among them. I was solely responsible for their safety and well beings. Those minors who hiked, swim, climbed waterfalls and rooftops, spent overnight in the mountains with me were vulnerable. Anything could happen and what then? But that time, those thoughts were the last things in my mind. To me, I was in vacation, my time was limited, every second counts. I have to make the most of it and I savor every moment without thinking of the consequences and there were few. Nothing serious. More damaging to my reputation than anything else. I gladly took those too. Who cares about what other people think when I know the truth.
Among those youngsters who followed me around was Arjay, a cute enthusiastic kid who was small for his age. I thought he was ten- twelve years old, I was surprised to find out later on that he was two years older than I originally assumed, he was fourteen. One time we were sleeping in the house of one of my Godmother’s boarders in the mountains when in the middle of the night I found Arjay staring at me, his face inches away from mine. His presence was not the reason why I suddenly woke up, it was the noises that the other boarders were making that aroused me from my slumber; they said Arjay was trying to kiss me. I thought it was a joke (what else it could be?) and shrugged it off but when it happened again and again I asked his mother what was the matter with Arjay, she said he had nightmares sometimes. I was so relief to finally get some explanation of what was happening with him. The kid had nightmares. No wonder he was acting strange.
He continued to to be part of my vacation each year since then. If we were at some party and I got tired and wanted to lie down, he will suddenly got a headache and insisted on being in the same room or bed with me. Luckily there was another kid who kept an eye on Arjay (or me) and every time he saw that Arjay was acting strange again he will see to it that he was in the same room with us. If I leave he goes with me, if Arjay goes, he stays. Kids.
I didn’t know the whole story and I didn’t ask for the reason why one day the kid asked Arjay to settle their differences by fighting it out. According to him Arjay was unrespectful and what he was doing was wrong. I don’t understand but I find that it’s not my place to ask and leave it at that. As far as I know, Arjay didn’t accept the challenge which was a relief because they were both good kids. I would hate to be in the middle of adolescents conflict and the last thing I would want to do is to choose sides. Their mothers are both my Godmothers. They were like brothers to me.
My mother died and I stop going home. I have no reason anymore to comeback so I lost sight of the bunch. I saw their profiles on Facebook, they are grown ups now and some of them are married and have family of their own. Arjay got married just last month. He has become a good looking young man like I thought he is going to be. Still small but presentable. I made a mistake of connecting with them a year ago and regretted in an instance my decision when I was bombarded with personal messages and telephone numbers. I quickly turned off my profile and never returned the messages. Personal contact isn’t my cup of tea and rekindling past relationships doesn’t set good with me. I rather leave the past in the past so it stays that way and I am able to visit whatever it is in my memory whenever I feel the need to do so. I find that tampering with what has been taint the memories somehow, ruining the good part and altering if not erasing the original stories. I rather remember them how they were and keep what we had the way it was than risk changing the impression they left in my recollection of the good old days when all of us were still innocent and young…