Sunday, March 11, 2012

I Remember

He begins with the intention of simply discarding all of his old notes, books and items. He is dead certain that the challenge will be the volume of material to go through, rather than the decision on what to keep or throw.

It all starts according to plan. He is flying through items in the first cupboard. He has two piles - one for chucking and one for keeping. Old chemistry notes - throw. Old math notes - throw. These can be looked up on the internet anytime, he reasons. Yearbooks he keeps. Language exercise books he has to pause for a little. He decides to keep them. While flipping through one of them, he reads a paragraph of his own essay. He is shocked and impressed by the number of words whose meaning he knew at age 13, but not now. He pushes aside the newsletters from his secondary school days and finds a box of letters. On top of it is a diary that still smells of bubble-gum when he opens it. It was a gift from his first school-teacher. The diary begins with entries describing his first ever overseas trip, 25 years ago. It continues for a couple of months after that trip ends. The little boy writes about hanging out with his Uncle, who has since passed away. He continues reading for a good 15 minutes. He cannot bear to throw this away. It has no use to his present self but it would be wrong, and far too cold, to say it is useless. He must show it to the Wife.

That was an unexpected delay; hopefully there are no more. As he continues combing through his belongings, he finds a journal that his secondary school teacher had asked him (and the other students, of course) to keep. He is so surprised to see himself in those entries. Sincere ramblings from an introverted kid, slightly lacking in confidence, and slightly too harsh on himself. With a little editing, those entries could be transplanted straight into his blog, he thinks. Well, the child is the Father of the Man.

The most moving find, by far, were a couple of touching letters from Senior to him. He has only a very slight recollection of reading one of them; the other he cannot remember at all. What was the context they were written in? Well well, it looks like the Father is also the Father of the Man.