What the elephant in the room should have kept to itself

Today Facebook took me back to an old post on an old high school blog. I don’t remember writing it, and I was a bit blown away by how well I wrote back then. It was a sad story, though, and the thoughts and feelings, interestingly enough, are perhaps even more relevant to me now. I thought I would rewrite the post today, 5 years later.

What the elephant in the room should have kept to itself

It wasn’t more than thirteen years ago — a split second in cosmic time —but indeed so long ago that I wouldn’t be surprised if such a time in my life coincided simultaneously with Adam and Eve themselves.

It was a frequent occurrence in my life: the hours of days stretched thin at my grandparents house. I loved everything about them and their ivory-walled palace on Glenwood Drive. I loved that little fence that stood taller than me and guarded our haven from all sides, every angle; the little fence that was lined with the jasmine that you could smell as soon as you turned into the driveway. I loved that it didn’t have an electric gate like most houses nowadays, but instead a two-doored rusty hinged gate that was shut tight with a padlock the moment the sun set, every single day. I loved that the same troop of dogs always greeted me with their familiar wet noses. I loved that my granny always made the best, most soul-warming home-cooked meals, from scrambled eggs to macaroni and cheese. I loved that the house always seem to grow secret passages in time for my next visit. I loved best its lack of dull moments: the house was always filled with glowing family members, nourishing food, and more love than most people know in a lifetime.

Not long after that very special door to my childhood was shut, I returned to that ivory-walled palace. There were no more wet-nosed happy-tailed dogs — not one. Neither of my grandparents were waiting at the front door, ready to usher in their smiling grandchildren. The pool we used to spend hours upon hours in is green from neglection. The corridors are empty and the jasmine is gone.

I suppose it was always there: the inevitable. It was in every corner of every warm room. It was there, watching our family of eight — depending on who was there that night — sitting around the dinner table with full stomachs and happy hearts. It was there on our adventures into secret passageways and the forest that stretched its ancient toes to the very corners of our garden. It was the elephant in the room; the unopened letter on the counter.

I suddenly know what it means to feel old: to have finally lost what you held on to so very, very tightly, and to never, ever be able to get it back, no matter how tightly you squeeze your eyes. If there were such a thing as magic, nothing could stop me from reversing time and replaying the first ten years of my life until I’m too happy to remember how to miss something this much.