It’s been quite some time since I’ve stayed in my cousin’s room. Or rather, former room since she no longer lives with her parents. Her old bed has fresh sheets, courtesy of her mom, as I am a guest in the home tonight. I get buzzes of familarity from seeing childhood belongings of hers.
Collages of her smiling face adorn the shelves and walls. In years long past, I saw those pictures so many times. It’s nostalgic to think of the days I was with her in her room, hanging out and goofing around.
Each time I visited, it became almost like a game to see the old decorations and take notice of the new ones she put up. A lot of once was present is no longer here. The book case which used to have a neat line of her extensive book collection is now empty, presumably she gave the books away or took them with her after she moved out.
Born Confused by Tanyja Desai Hidier was one of them. I’ll always remember it for the distinctive cover it had: a red question mark inbetween a pair of dark-colored female eyes. My cousin once praised it as a good book about growing up and culture. I must have been like 14 at the time. She was a year younger than me but had more exposure to things like that. I was a slow starter and didn’t really understand what it meant to have an identity crisis until much later in my own life.
Some things remain unchanged. A pink plastic piggy bank, the duplicate of one I used to have too. Three big plush dolls whose individual names I forgot. A touch-sensitive lamp which I almost didn’t recall how to turn on after so much lost time. Three taps on its neck to make it bloom bright.
Last I heard, my cousin popped by last week with her boyfriend to see her parents. It’s such a weird feeling to know she came back recently and was physically there in the same space I am now. I haven’t seen her as frequently as I once had in my youth.
Many things changed after the college era. I was barely figuring myself out while she seemed to be going after life full-speed ahead. That was my perception of how things were.
To be honest at the time I felt left behind by her but I think it was because I didn’t have my own plan for what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. I don’t know if the path she took was the one she truly wished for, or if it was what she felt she had to take.
I could text her if I wanted to. She gave me her number sometime last year and suggested we could write to each other. I never did, mostly because I was sure I would bore her with my negative outlook on life. With time comes change and of course I’m not exactly the same person I was last year. Still, I don’t feel quite there yet. Perhaps the best thing is to continue working on myself. I can only hope that whenever is the next time I see her, I will be in a better headspace.
Featured Image by Chinh Le Duc.