Remember how I often say that, with technology, time tends to pass faster than it actually is?
Ever go on vacation to visit relatives? Ever spend hours in planes, in various airports, travelling from one destination to another, only to meet those relatives for a short time? Ever meet up with a lot of familiar relatives, but then find that there are a few that couldn’t make it, whatever the reason? Ever feel like that there’s something, but only realize that on the last day?
Two weeks to prepare packing for somewhere that never worries about the temperature going below 20C. Two alarms set to wake at Three O’clock in the morning. Twenty-four hours spent in planes and twelve hours spent in different airports. Two days to destination. Two weeks stay….and five years since the last visit.
A lot changed in five years. While the streets were mostly the same, the people changed. Some got older, some looked like they never aged a day. Kid cousins became tween/teen cousins with questions about America and where we’re from. Aunts and uncles became grandpas and grandmas, taking care of newborn nieces and nephews. Grandparents got quieter, being more of the subtle messenger across languages.
But two weeks to visit a place on the other side of the ocean was never enough, and it wasn’t realized until after. Hundreds of photos were taken with people smiling. Photos were taken of family members reconnecting after so long, sharing laughs, catching up…. but it still wasn’t enough.
Staying at a grandparent’s, there was a plan for everyday. Everyday was a different destination, different people. Everyday consisted of photos of people and places… but something was missing.
By the last day, reality fights back… by seeing the tears on grandma’s face as luggage is packed into the trunk.
Two weeks we had stayed. Two thousand photos on the camera. Ten thousand smiles and laughs. Two hundred places that we saw. Twenty-three relatives were all of whom we could see and have photos of…. but not one of grandma.
Fourteen days staying at her place, never once thanking her. Fourteen mornings of having breakfast at a local Coffee Shop with her. Four mornings of meeting her friends. Two hours of each day, seeing her smile and laugh.
Two seconds after her tears was the realization of what was forgotten. Two voices of urgency came as a distraction. Two minutes to pack everything into the trunk and everyone in the car. Twenty minutes to the airport…. thirty seconds is all that it would take to take a photo of her to remember her by.
When people ask me how the trip was, I’d lie and say that I would love to go back there soon and that it was a lot of fun. I can’t say that the next trip over there is going to be soon because it won’t be soon enough, especially when all I want to do is spend all the money I’ve saved to take my family onto the next flight back there. I can’t say it’s a lot of fun, when the last memory I have is tears falling on her cheek, knowing that she might not be around for the next visit.