May 15, 2017 § Leave a comment
There was a time I lived for instant cup noodles. My parents initially refrained from buying them and I would only get to eat them on airplanes. So among my favorite childhood memories were all the long haul flights I took with my mom. I have this one lucid memory where the cabin lights were already dimmed and I was wrapped up in the airline blanket. I told her I was still hungry even if we had just eaten the served dinner. She rang the button for the attendant, and moments later the beautiful lady set down in front of me a cup of hot noodles. I loved eating the corn kernels in those instant cup noodles then. Apart from that treat, I always looked forward to the activity kit airlines give to children to keep them preoccupied. That aside from peering through the window the entire duration of the flight. I was careful of everything inside those kits, making sure my brother didn’t accidentally pack into his kit one of the contents from mine during those times that we were already flying together. I didn’t hand those to my mom for safekeeping unlike the other things that I didn’t care keeping. I stashed them in my own bag and worked on them even when we were at our destination already. I also remember how during those flights, my mom would at one point ask me if I wanted to sleep on her lap. And I always did say yes, until the time my height didn’t allow any comfortable position to be found. At that point, I leaned on her shoulder instead. And eventually, I didn’t dare lean on her fragile frame anymore, settling with just clutching her hand.
I thought about these memories on the flight back home, while looking on a mother with her child seated on her lap. I was initially seated beside them but as the flight was barely full, I decided to move into another seat when they were served food. I no longer like ordering food on the plane because of how the smell seems to cling on my clothes. And that was the same reason I moved into the opposite row when I discovered she had ordered her own. She naively thought I moved to allow her to set down her child as she ate dinner and thanked me after. I suppose she had hoped I would move after all. When I was granted the pass to take whatever I wanted in the grocery, my brother and I did at some point always take in cup noodles for our study nights. Nowadays, I don’t look forward to corn being mixed in my noodles, and in fact it’s been ages since I ate an instant one. I now buy seats not by the window but right beside the aisle. I think about the ease of evacuating during an emergency and the convenience when I need to go to the loo. Though I still occasionally steal glances of the window as the view still has the ability to mesmerize me. I don’t remember personally throwing away those activity kits from the plane, but I guess I did at some point. Save for letters and some objects worth keeping, it’s easy for me to dispose of unnecessary things now. That clinical disposal has even crept into my once stubborn sentimentality.
And as for the lap that will never be beside me, my best chance would now be an empty seat behind as I freely recline mine and rest my head in the groove in between.
Things have changed. But never the memories worth keeping. Happy mother’s day to you in heaven, Inay.