The sound of waves crashing, and thunders roaring in the distance startled me. As the cruise ship splits through the edges of the sea, it swayed violently to the rhythm of the waves. The restless sea, under the dark stormy clouds reflects the sad heart. A heart filled with uncertainties of the future and plagued with memories of the past. As I lay in the dark bunk listening to the songs on the iPod, the mind wandered somewhere else. Somewhere far away, swarming into the chartered past, reliving each memories shared. As the words in the songs played as a distant background, the images from the past were shown through vivid movies. Memories flashed before me. Years of memories zoomed within seconds.
Cold air swept across the body where the expected sweat is replaced by cold shivers. After hours of delayed packing, finally it was time. Time to leave this place of mine. How can I? How could I?My heart is too attached with this place. This is the only place I called home in this foreign land. Where friends were made, and memories were carved. When we part, will I still be remembered across the deep blue water, across the green lush mountains,across the distant land? Hopefully the bonds will remain tightly knotted through the times to come.
As usual I arrived just in the nick of time. A senior’s house was made a meeting place. A place for last goodbyes. Nothing grand I thought. As I opened the door in exasperation, I shrugged the snow that had made their way onto my jacket and made my hair white. Still trying to catch some air, I didn’t realize that eyes were watching my every move. The many eyes that were watching bewildered me. I wasn’t expecting this. The two rooms were crammed with people. Almost 20 peoples I guess.I was speechless. Words cannot be uttered. Friends gathered for a sending off that I wasn’t going to forget. They had planned all this. I am awestruck but forever grateful.
Niigata, an hour away from Nagaoka, seems to be so short of a journey in that moment. I didn’t want to go yet. I am not yet ready I thought. A snow fleet decided to accompany us as well. All the way, it was snowing fervently. As the 4 cars continued to race above 120km/h, my heart was also racing. Memories filled those spaces. As we laugh through our conversations, a tingle of sadness contravene. I just can’t help it. I have seen so many goodbyes but this was hard. Adeli was the one who was like a big brother to me which I never had before. He showed me the ropes in life here. My Kosen mates with whom, I couldn’t be here today without them standing by me all these years. My football teammates who proved to be more than mates on the field but also friends off it. Thanks for all those moments where we stuck together when all seems bleak. There were times when I was a pain, or when I was down, but I’m glad you guys stood up for me. Here, friends are not just for times of happiness, but also as important for the times of need. When sometimes words cannot help, where sometimes intentions misunderstood, and sometimes actions aren’t just enough. We stood tall and be counted. Oh,how I longed for those memories…
As the night grew darker, the distant stars started to pop out. Amidst the misty night, we stopped by an Indian Briyani restaurant. This was the place where we celebrated days of glory and nights of enjoyment. Dishes filled the long tables filled with hungry faces that yearn for a feeling of ‘hominess’ in this yet forever foreign land. I werent attracted to the delicious spicy foods, which was unusual for me, who have such an appetite for briyanis. As we talked away those precious times, with every face that I saw, flashes of memories filled me. I can see them again from time to time, but it just won’t be the same. Will it? As we grow up, chances like this grew harder with each passing day. The smiles on their faces and the truth in their eyes tell me what we all meant to each other. And the touch of your hand tells me that you’ll be there to catch me wherever I fall.
I knew it then, that it was time for me to part. As they formed a circle, I hugged each and everyone of them. While some would just hold tightly, concealing the sadness, others would whisper words of encouragement in my ear, which I will always remember for a long time. As I crossed the the departure gate, an escalator escorted me.Far away from my friends that I have got used to as a family member of mine. I waved fervently to them trying hard not to weep, and rather opted to be a big boy who can face whatever that lies in store for him. For better or for worse, this is the road that I have to take. I held more tightly to the bags that will be my ‘friend’ through the 19hour journey to the new place in Hokkaido.The cruise gates closed all of a sudden. The ship was ready to depart but my heart wasn’t. It was still clinging on to the memories of the past. Will I make it in the new world? Will I be alright?
The seasons in the sun, and the seasons in the cold, all the highs and lows, those moments really are memoirs to savoir. Friendships are something hard to define. Is it true that, once we have lost the ones we really care about, only then can we learn to appreciate them? Why is it hard to express the feelings bulked inside? When we come to realize the importance of our loved ones, it is more often than not, it’ll be too late. Hold on to the memories of the past, while creating a new one for the future. As we look back, hopefully with the loved ones in the future, we will have a reason to smile for.