Suddenly, 25 years does not seem too long ago. I have Facebook to thank for this. The thing is I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing. Memories from a quarter of a century ago can play some pretty nasty tricks on you.
On the one hand, I still reel from the pain of kicks and punches I received in the ring when I competed in the kick-boxing circuit. But on the other, I have quite forgotten what the caress of the mid-spring breeze at Regent’s Park feels like. It should be the other way round, shouldn’t it? But it isn’t.
Similarly, the desolation I felt when I flunked my second year at law school is still very real to me. Somehow, if I can still dig up the elation of having cleared my A-levels in just six months, it would maybe balance things out a little. But I can’t.
Where have all the good stuff gone? They’re there somewhere. All I have to do is to maybe look a bit harder.
But not all of the good stuff is gone. Some of it is still fresh in my head – even though I’ve not thought of these memories for ages. For example, I still can remember what 53 Fermoy Road smells like – and how warm it was even in the dead of winter. I still recall the friends I’ve known – and how, in our bleakest hours, we stood by each other like brothers.
Perhaps it was a matter of survival. But I suspect it went deeper than that: it was a kinship forged in fire – and in love. When we took, we never had to ask; when we gave, we never had to think. That was what it was like. The stink of it is why is this no longer so?
But most of all, in the privacy of my most private moment, I still remember the love that I once had – and the love that I once lost.
It feels like it was only yesterday when I found her crying because I had been late in picking her up from school. And I still can see how her eyes would glisten when I played the blues on the guitar she gave me. But time changes things – and people. Perhaps it was just not meant to be. After all, isn’t everything we have really just on loan anyway? Still, I am thankful for the privilege.
All this has taught me to appreciate the present – the here and now. Yes, I may have known the love of one of the most beautiful women in the world. But I also know that this isn’t half as precious as the love of the woman who is now at my side – in the here and now.