The Opinionated Man posed a blogging challenge recently that struck me as very interesting. So here goes my response to: Describe a happy memory of yours and try to recall something lost from it, or perhaps missed until now. Like when you rewatch a movie and see something for the first time.
When I was 20 my Mother, my two sisters and myself travelled to London for a girly trip. My memories from that trip are like a trailer for a movie – brief flashes of scenarios without context or detail. They all hint to a happy two days with much laughter and enjoyment. My most vivid memory is of a Chinese meal, but even that is hazy. I don’t remember what we ate or even where the restaurant was but I could describe the table and it’s position in the restaurant. I could describe the cups and teapot we received after dinner. I could describe the bitter taste of my first cup of green tea and the laughter of four women from the country when they realised their error in trying to order a pot of English breakfast tea in a Chinese restaurant! And I could describe our childish antics as one by one her three daughters proceeded to trick our Mother into drinking our shares of the horrible tea.
It’s a pretty simple memory and to our fellow diners we may have looked like four slightly gauche country girls, displaying a lack of decorum in an elegant city. For me it’s a moment that never fails to cause a pang of longing in my heart. It’s a memory I take out and dust off only when I’m feeling strongest. Because it’s not something that is lost, it’s someone.
Ten years later, I long for my Mother. I long for another girly trip. I long for the ability to go back in time and tell my 20 year old self to soak it all in. I would tell her to write it down, to photograph it, to do whatever it takes to never forget that day. I would tell her to remember the details of the places visited and the address of the hotel so that one day she can revisit them. Because though she couldn’t have imagined it possible then, one day she will be left only with the memories of a horrible green tea and a vague recollection of a chinese restaurant with white tablecloths.