It’s been four years, almost five, since I left home. A lot has happened since and I when I came back I find a lot has changed or maybe it was just me. I confess the years changed me in a way that sometimes I look back and think was I ever like that but the thought that I am still who I am, was, and always will be kept me grounded and more sane. Change is inevitable, the years are rough, time is predictable that way, I guess. Time changes things, not only people but places as well. But no matter what it can never change feelings. It can manipulate it, try to shape it, cloud and shroud memories to the point of indifference but there will always be that sweet nagging feeling of familiarity that will never change, can never change. And that’s why I think coming home was a mixture of conflicting emotions; comparing images of the old and new, of discovering new things and reliving or reminiscing the old.
I found myself tracing the same paths I used to walk and run on. Remembering how often I scraped my knee, walked aimlessly or sat for hours dreaming about someday. And in that account, not much had changed. I smiled as walked the familiar paths and I remembered. I looked back fondly at the little tomboy who ran and walked barefoot without a care in the world because life was simple and the view was beautiful. I dreamed of infinite blue skies and make out shapes from the fluffy white clouds. And on somber days I wished for rain so I can dance and wash my little worries away. I was a simpleton, I still am.
As I sat on my favorite spot and looked out on the view I loved and missed the most I remembered how often I came there to be alone doing nothing but sit still, look out and listen. The place looked different or I viewed it differently, I can’t say. I watched as clouds gather and thought of the countless sunsets I watched on the very spot. I tried to remember when and why I stopped coming to a place that offered me a haven when I needed it and thought myself a fool for ever forgetting. But as I close my eyes I remembered sunny days, the smell of freshly mowed grass, the sound of crickets and birds and the soft breeze caressing my face. I remembered the distant roar of airplane engine and I remembered my childhood dreams. And for a moment I was there, back on my special place; a kid dreaming of flying.
I opened my eyes as the first drops of rain greet me, I smiled and thought my homecoming was complete. I looked my fill that one afternoon I was allowed the freedom to roam. Change has been noticeable; the places that were open before were now restricted, guarded. New buildings were erected some abandoned, the paint changed colors and most of the imperfections fixed. But home will always be home no matter how time changes things. And I’ll always be glad for the memories, good or bad, those memories are mine and I will cherish them.
No matter how much things evolve on the next years I know my feelings will stay the same. Maybe five or ten years from today I would walk back the same path and remember that afternoon and all the other afternoons I spent on the same beautiful grounds and remind myself of what, when, how and why. And I will smile to myself and think what a sentimental fool I was.