Christmas has always been a time of peace and serenity for me. Carols down the shopping aisles, bells and decorations hung high, strings of lights shining along and adding to the beauty of the nighttime city scene. Silent and holy nights of peacefully staring out the bus window, seeing couples walk hand in hand, seeing shoppers struggle with big bags, seeing children mesmerized by a gargantuan Christmas tree at Takashimaya, seeing smiles everywhere.
Back then this time was about a cousin I held dear. Moving on to the next year which was going to be the same.
Then she didn't come for a while. This time was about playing with a sibling I held dear. Games and on and on and on. Getting a PS2 on Christmas Day and finishing FFX before my secondary school life began.
Then he left for NS, and suddenly Sec 3 was very much to myself. IBA brought my mind to work. The prospect of it all was admittedly rather interesting, and it's been on my mind rather often. This year is rather similar, in some ways.
But this year there's the issue of not actually knowing who I'm going to be with next year, yet I guess that really is just a small issue in the end, isn't it.
It's been a while since I've seen one of my cousins, a long while since I've seen the other. Honestly, it's almost like that feeling I had waiting to see someone's face just that once a year. The kind of feeling that I used to live on for a long time. A kind where you recognize the vanity of something yet just hope positively, never letting the futility of it all change anything. Who knows; it's very likely this will be the last time I ever see her as a teenager. Maybe the next time I'll see her is when she's begun work. Maybe the next time I'll see her is when I've begun work. But who cares about the maybe? At least there's an eventual ending.
I remember forlornly the weak smile I had facing a person whom I knew saw me the same way I saw her: a mere fragment of the past. The sort of thing where you cared about but it just faded away anyway.
Anyone around remember This lil' thing over here? Certain little things that just weren't exactly central to our lives, yet weren't completely insignificant either. A certain kind of amusement and entertainment that really belonged more to the community than to the individual. Really, rather similar to our $20 notes today.
Anyone around remembers the feeling of bare foot upon mosaic tiles? A feeling I'll never have unless I head over to my Malaysian relatives' house. The feeling somewhat akin to walking on a path of smooth pebbles, yet still rather different. Various sorts of feelings that never held central place in your life, but just existed there anyway.
Perhaps it's precisely due to the nature of such things that one only actually remembers about (or even notes the presence of) them when they're no longer existent. Perhaps it's even wrong to say that one even remembers about it. Forgetting about the trivial things that made life back then not unique as an individual, but maybe at a more communal level. The feeling of monsoon, of summer and autumn, of the evening train's wheels in the nearby yet distant tracks.
And gradually you realize that even if the individuals around you are the same, the culture, livelihood, and many more other things are already rather different.
And then you realize how much more alien it is without the individuals around you there in the first place. And perhaps, by then, the world is no longer merely the region in which your SMSs can reach in less than an hour.