Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Our past

Lately, through some miraculous intervention, I’ve ran into a couple of old friends whom I haven’t seen or got in touch with for a long time. When it happens once, you think it’s a coincidence. Twice, it’s purely luck. Thrice, surely someone (or if you’re religious, God) is trying to send you a message.

Since I grew up in Klang, most of my old school mates are from there. It’s not a big town and I often go back to visit my parents who still live there. As for Kuala Lumpur, it’s much bigger in terms of size and population but still, majority of the people seem to hang out at the same spot; shopping malls and popular cafes. Yet, I hardly bump into anyone for the past few years.

Never mind the fact that I travel a lot because emails and social network services have allowed long lost friends to reconnect easily across the globe. Yet, I hardly receive any email or friend request from my childhood friends.

Since I returned to Malaysia slightly more than a month ago, I’ve somehow reconnected with some old friends whom I never thought I would see again. The weirdest thing was, it wasn’t planned at all, except for one who reappeared suddenly after seven years through Facebook.

In one occasion, it had been rather spontaneous and turned out to be enjoyable. Another was just plain awkward and slightly uncomfortable because I couldn’t remember her name. The most recent one, which happened today, was a real shocker which serves as a wake-up call or rather a huge slap in the face.

Today’s gathering was something extraordinary. An old friend brought some of us together after more than fifteen years. He was known as a funny, warm, charming, cheerful and handsome guy. The thing is, when age has finally caught up with you, there are many things which you tend to forget, especially in my case since I have a very bad memory.

But I do remember that he was funny and easy going. I also remember that he had a unique long name which was somehow related to one of the X-Files main characters (and I was right!). Finally, I also remember that the last time I heard about him, he was flying all over the world as an air steward. Come to think about it, he was the perfect guy for the job; cheerful disposition, charming and pleasant. OK, OK, he was cute too.

So anyway, I was glad that because of him, I was reminded of my past, something which I have forgotten and was too busy to remember. The sad thing is, I am not able to thank him for this.

Today’s gathering was to pay him our last respect as he passed away unexpectedly. May he rest in peace.

Although we haven’t been in touch for over fifteen years, I felt an uncomfortable sensation upon learning this sad news. I felt guilty for not knowing him better even though his name was brought up occasionally when some of us do meet up. I felt shameful that it takes the loss of a precious life in order for many of us to see each other again.

When I was going out with my husband before we got married, I was often consumed with jealousy whenever I knew that he was still in touch with his ex’es. He told me this: “Even though we’re (his ex’es and him) not together anymore, she was part of my life, part of who I am. The memory we had together will always remain in my mind.”

I’ve learned from him that no matter what happened, we should be thankful for the people who have touched our lives and whether we like it or not, nothing can erase that away. It’s part of your past and who you are.

I guess I’m writing this because I’m being reminded that it’s not often when good people enter your life. When they do, treasure it before it’s too late. These group of friends today were part of a crucial phase of my life. It was a phase of untainted innocence and idealism which unfortunately diminish with time. It was a phase of growing up and slowly learning the harsh reality of life and yet, privileged to be able to look back and laugh ourselves silly at what happened during that period of our youth together.

These are the friends whom I am honoured to have shared an exclusive experience together.

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