When I was a young girl, I’d catch moments of mom getting lost in her own thoughts. Sometimes while she drank her coffee or methodically ate her dinner, her eyebrows would scrunch up to form a little hill between her eyes. I could see the gears turning in her head; she drifts off into the distance.
In my attempt to burst mom out of her worry bubble, I’d cheekily poke the delicate hill in between her brows. Mom snaps back to reality. Each time, she’d give me a smile that made me feel precious. Each time, I’d high five myself for making mom happy again.
I never knew what was mom thinking about, she would never tell me. What could she be so sad and worried about when we’re having fried chicken for dinner?!
Back then I was too young to understand memories and how it comes back to you whether hauntingly and happily.
Now that I have a photo album full of joy, sadness, and heartache, I’d catch moments of myself deep in my pool of thoughts. Everything comes flooding back to me on a whim, each thought crying for attention – that regret, that thing I wished I said, that incident that happened at work, that friend I haven’t spoken to in 12 years, that errand I need to run…
Right now, on a 13-hour bumpy bus through the windy mountains of Myanmar, I caught myself thinking of thinking about things.
In the bus window, I see a reflection of my mother – a dark-haired woman with her eyebrows scrunched up, so lost in her thoughts she forgot to enjoy the moment in front of her.
Behind the reflection, the sun is setting against the rolling hills in a beautiful gold. I didn’t even realise we had driven out of town.
I now understand that smile mom gave me each time I flattened her scrunched up brows and brought her back to now. It wasn’t a smile for me, it was a smile for my carefree innocence that she found so precious. She knew I wouldn’t own this gift of youth for long – it was a matter of time before Life puts his footprints all over that empty slate.
And he has, vehemently and unforgivingly.