I *chanced* across some photos of an old friend today — and realised just how different she appears: familiar, yet not quite what I had imagined her to be. She looks so grown up now — a reminder that I, myself, am no longer the boy that was once in love with her.
It was just today that a conversation over lunch centred around the “uncle/kor kor” debate (“kor kor” meaning “elder brother” in Chinese). At what age do we stop being regarded as an “older brother” by children, and start being regarded as an “uncle”?
Looking through the pictures of my friend, I realised just how different it would all be if I had been closer to her; those photographs would have been familiar, and I would not find them as intriguing as I would find them normal. I thought that, perhaps, I might well have been in one of those photographs.
Ageing, when considered on a day-to-day basis, is a relatively slow process. You can never tell that you have aged over the days, nor can most people whom you are in regular contact with. It’s the people whom we have hardly any contact with that will provide the greatest insights into our true age, even if that insight comes from within, as it did for me.
Those photographs brought back nostalgic memories, and I thought back to the time I was 17. Would I have imagined her the way she is now? Would I have imagined myself the way I am now?
Almost immediately I was brought back into the present, thinking about the girl I was currently in love with.
I wonder if in six years time to this day, if I happen to chance upon her photographs, will I be in them? Or will I be reminiscing, as I am now, about a love that might have been? about a life that could have been — but never was — shared?