Reunions can be fun. Especially when you meet your old crushes. Emphasis on the OLD. You start questioning yourself how in heaven’s name you nurtured this infatuation all those years when you were much younger.
You remember the moment. That ball (formal parties were then called “ball”) when you gingerly walk into the center of the hall knowing all eyes are on you. You nervously grope for the straps of your sequined dress, or grip your purse with one hand, the other hand busy smoothing the creases on your skirt. As you step into the hall and hear the door click shut behind you, you pray you don’t stumble and that your hair-sprayed bangs stay in place. Without breaking a stride, you head straight into the company of your friends. Then you wait for the next pair to spill into the hall. The “ritual” somehow compels you to look in the direction of the main door every so often, spanning the entire hall till you knew every curve and corner and angle.
Fast forward. Your eyes are still trained to watch the door. Like a guessing game. Is that him? Still a handsome man, though stooped now. You count the years. How long has it been? Back then when this gray-haired man would dominate the dancing hall looking so full of energy, handsome in slicked back jet black hair and ramrod straight posture. The years have not been kind. The light from the candles on the dinner table winked. You watch him as you line up and around the buffet table. What’s taking so long? Old men and women around a buffet table chat and examine each dish yet never skipped any. My purse in one hand, the other holding a plate. Give me a few more minutes and I’d drop the plate. I should remind myself to carry a tiny, fancy shoulder bag instead of this purse. My OLD friends continue to chat and examine each dish. I’m still in the same place on this line which is threatening to snake around the entire hall. Somehow, I feel like I’m at the bottom of a feeding chain. A quick decision. Found the cheese corner. Squirreled away a few slices and moved away from the line. This is better. I’m hungry. And I can’t hold that plate for much longer. Who cares if my OLD crush is watching me? If I wait, I would have been flatlining even before I get to the first dish.
My little “dinner” over. A cocktail glass in hand. My left hand still clutching my purse. Damn! I joined my friends talking about grandchildren and their “apostolic” work. I see my old crush coming to join our circle. He smiled and I knew his dentures were loose. He tried joining the conversation but he seemed so hard of hearing that the old ladies were quickly losing their temper having to repeat themselves. He sniffed as he took offense. And left. Cruel ladies.
I’m home now. And I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. You get to an age where you appreciate what’s been and what is. Gone are those days when you drive as if there are no intersections or cross streets. You are more sober now. Sober, but hopefully not “uncool”. I still have my full set of teeth. My walking pace is still fast that I am now trying to learn how to walk more slowly, unhurriedly. For safety reasons. I have not lost my appetite for good food nor have I lost the passion to travel and write about my adventures. I have not lost my capacity for joy. What a blessing!
I don’t know why I’m writing this. Gratitude makes you remember a lot of things. And it makes one view things in different perspectives. Life need not be expressed in “black and white”. Nor should you need to focus and dwell on what’s behind, what’s past. There’s the present. The NOW moment, in all its colors and hues. It is a choice. As my laptop begins to sound like a cricket with a damned insomnia, my heart overflows with joy. Growing old is a blessing in itself. Life is a blessing. Let’s celebrate it!