Since I am back in Abu Dhabi, it makes sense that I’m spending a lot of time with my Abu Dhabi friends i.e. My School friends. One, in particular, who unfortunately, is as annoying as he was in high school, keeps wondering why he hangs out with us because we apparently talk too much about the past (he likes talking about how rich he is and how rich he will be). This annoys me, as it annoys the rest of us, because we enjoy talking about the past.
There is something comforting about talking about things past with people from your past, so you know how much you’ve grown, and how much you’ve accomplished since then. You can wrap yourself in the warmth of your childhood and adolescence and sigh about the good old days. It feels strangely yay. You’re drinking a pint instead of coffee, and you’re smoking a cigarette instead of devouring a KitKat Chunky, but it feels good, for a little while, to remember who you used to be with people you knew the you-then and the you-now. To some people, I will always be “Little Ky”, and when I’m cranky and jaded and when I feel old, it’s almost criminal, how good it feels to be around people who knew and love that me.
For the past few days, thanks to a weekend conversation on high-school horrors and the slightly messier past, I’ve been flipping through pages of my past, and even when I reach the pages I want to skip altogether, I’ve found out I can’t and I can’t seem to choose what I skip and what I linger on. So I soldier on. And flip, without skipping, but with some lingering.
The feel of the library’s shelves under my skin. Sitting under the stairs with MommyMathews’ yay sandwiches, that Di used to love as much as I. The best kiss W and I ever had, during a Talent Show, at the back of the dimly-lit auditorium, while someone was massacring “My Immortal.” Sitting with J in the bus and letting him spend the long morning drive to school educating me on Metallica. Watching Isha torture the opposite sex. Talking to Di about anything, all the time. Too much Starbucks. Throwing notes to Uzi in French. Loving after-school anything because it meant W and I were in the same bus. Counting almost non-existent stars with Uzi. And the obscurely funny text messages we sent each other then – and now. Di’s blue mug, which makes me miss her achingly whenever I see it. The leaf J gave me for my birthday. I still don’t know why. Begging Z to do her eyebrows. And to ask J out. Fiona Appleby, the leaf Di and I discovered and christened. Walking to Isha’s whenever I felt blue. Midnight phone calls to W. The Beach and everything about it. Sleepover’s at mine and Di’s. Getting tingly whenever I bumped into W on my way to a class, despite the fact that I saw him everyday. Jellyfish stings. And the fight Di had with N about it, and the fight Isha had with W about it, which seems hysterically funny now, but it wasn’t then. All the names Di invented for me, from Thumbalina to Petitie. The joke Z and I had about Bananas which I can’t for the life of me remember now, except that it was really funny. Sleepless nights over the beacon. Bus rides, perfect for study-time. Di’s “An Ode”
Annoying high school friend? What you don’t (conveniently) seem to remember is that you didn’t spend much (or any) time with us then. You don’t have the memories I do. So, I’m going to stop being annoyed with you, and feel sorry for you instead. Because when I choose to look at my past, not only do I have a yay one to remember, I have yay people to remember it with.
“You have to know the past to understand the present”