Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Stolen Summer

You know what’s another thing I hate about summer? Well, not only that the mercury rise hampers our regular outdoor scenario or suffocates you in case your life leaves you no option but to brave its fatal kiss, the advent of summer reminds me that not too long ago, I was made to feel what summer wasn’t about. Yes, it’s my childhood. No, it’s my bitter, lonely and pathetic childhood. I should have moved on. Of course I did. But when summer comes, especially here in Dubai, I feel like its isolating warmth is mocking me, telling me to my face, in all coordinates of directions, in a loud wordless manner that once upon a time, I had never been a child, and in that capsule of time, I was unanimously left behind and ultimately thrown into the dark abyss of invisibility.

I am still stuck in that moment. Oh crap! I said I have moved on.
Said I have forgiven time for teaching me how to alone, a characteristic that appears cute when you’re young but odd when you’re already old. I am old, I mean getting there. But it seems tiny fragments of memory when I was a kid staring outside the window as the other kids played around the streets in all their innocence still haunts me down. Though recent happy events had already filled the gaps of those times I felt I wasn’t belonged, somewhere in a wrinkle in my brain lays dormant the tragedies that have moulded me to be where I am today. Yes, I am successful. Yes, I am an achiever. But asked me about the friends I had when I was growing up, asked me about the games I had played with the neighbour’s kids, asked me about the many little stupid and crazy things I had done as a teener, the answer is much harder to give than me giving you all the names of the elements in the periodic table or the capital cities of world’s nations.

So what really happened? Well, it was only after college that I realized what I had missed, when I got a work and started to earn for myself. That’s when I began to look back the long journey I had before reaching the point where I got the machine to reap what I have sown. In the middle of all the wonderful things that new life has to offer, I realized I had to thank few things that have joined me in this quite boring, sometimes cursing and solitary interpretation of growing up. And as much as I wanted to pay appreciation to those who stayed, I had to pay a bigger gratitude to those who left me, or better yet to those who was never there.

A beautiful childhood was one of them. I never had it. Though I couldn’t recall if it was a choice or a simple family conspiracy to just let me live with papers, watercolours, books, plants and a limitless stretch of imagination, I had not taken this against anyone knowing I would be to some good ending after all. But human that I am, in random occassions, I also felt the angst and animosity towards the people who might have unconsciously made me felt so different and unwanted at a time when I should had been on the streets playing with other kids, climbing trees, chasing ducks, swimming in the river, flying kites and simply enjoying how it was to be a kid and enjoying what summer should have been about. But nonetheless, I don’t blame my family for taking away that important part of my life. They had reasons and at that point in time, they knew better and I respected that.

Fast forward to present, a lot of things have changed. That childhood thing is no more but a thing of the past. Even in the province where I grew up, summer is no longer the way it used to be. Kids hardly play on the streets, the rice fields are gone converted to commercial subdivisions, the trees are cut, the roads are all asphalted, and the many traditional and peculiar games are replaced by computers. That being said, do I still have reasons to be bitter? Honestly, I don’t know the answer. It might ease a little knowing I am grieving over something that doesn’t exist anymore but won’t you agree when I say that the best memories we have and probably the happiest moments in our lives are those when we were young and the world revolved without malice and void of any mental corruptions?

Summer here in Dubai is something people don’t look forward to. It’s an open oven and makes you wonder how in the world people here survived before the invention of the air-conditioning systems.  During this time, most people stay indoors while executives return to their home countries. For some people,  summer brings in this coldness that is a silent antithesis of the summer season. In my case, I get to remember the days that I couldn’t remember had happened. Oh well, not as vivid and playful as it’s supposed to be, but I remember reading so many books when I was a kid, tendering our little backyard garden where I had grown sitaw, okra, talong and other vegetables and spending all other hours acquiring everything the television had to offer, all without the noisy, annoying but unpretentious company of other kids.
I had never questioned anyone of my becoming. Fact is, I am grateful I had missed that happy point of my childhood, maybe I would have completely grown to be different person than I am today had I engrossed myself with all the happiness relative to being a kid. I had learned early on how to be self-reliant, how to hone my own talents and the inevitable inclination to arts. Now I am happy and I am moving on. Everything that I have now more than compensated for what I had sorely missed. Summer will always be there. As such, it’s time to leave the past behind and starts walking in sunshine, extreme that is.


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