We all go back to here.
This morning, strolling on the streets on the lead-up to the Edinburgh Castle, green grass all around, sunshine. Lying on the grass in the middle of the Edinburgh University grounds, watching clouds pass, pigeons landing on the heads of statues.
On the bus to the city yesterday we all talked about our collective memories – I think about my parents, younger and more weighted down by life and hopes and expectations; the kind of things that they must have been thinking about while they were cajoling us on to the streets of Clarke Quay for the Buskers’ festival, while my dad was sipping coffee at that coffee shop outside the National Library – the place where so many alternative universes were carefully shored up within sacred pages.
Unconditionality – it’s that ache in your heart when you feel helpless and protective at the same time, when you are fearful but strong at the same time. It is tiring to love, but so immensely rewarding when you have learnt the right way of doing so. Unconditionality – for once, I am reminded that this is the most important state that I can find myself in – that I don’t need to feel like I have to BE BETTER for anybody, that who I am is exactly what and how my parents and my brother want to find me in. For that, I am thankful.
And I have learnt to reciprocate this. No more comparing and measuring, thinking that I / we can be better off, happier, living a ‘better life’ doing this or that. We all share the same powerful tool: the state of not wanting or expecting more than what we already have, the creativity to bend our minds around even the most challenging of circumstances.
The way my mother looks when she poses for a photo; no longer stoic, with a grim hard line on her lined face; just small and shy and tentatively curious about the environment, taking it all in. The way she couldn’t take it when the sunlight hit her face on the way down Princes Street, the way we all looked out for each other. The way we all talked about our trip last year, relieving meals, memories, apartments, places….
The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them. — Thomas Merton
Love is my dad taking me to the bookstore on my birthday to pick out a book I wanted. Love is eating at the hawker centre in Toa Payoh instead of attending speech and drama class because I threw a tantrum and suffered from anxiety about engaging in extraversion during class. Love is my mother treating me to a McDonald’s ice-cream cone and telling me to hush, not tell my brother because otherwise he will get jealous. Love is time, places, memories, stories of struggling on together….