I’ve booked my flight. Last minute to travel the twenty over hours to the other side of the world. Toronto. The visit had been 12 years overdue. I promised my cousins then, I’ll visit soon when we last bid farewells at Pearson Airport.
The memories of the last visit lies faint. I want to see the magnificent Niagara Falls again. My cousin told me he lived there now. As I flipped upon an old photo album of the trip (It’s still old school then. pre-iphone, pre-digital era). The younger me, fresh out of university, posed with wonderstruck-face against the picturesque waterfall backdrop. Looking back, I’ve had looked so young, baby fats still hangs innocently on my cheek. I’m glad it’s gone. I thought I looked like a cartoon version of a chipmunk with all the heavy duck down jacket and big wooly scarf. I laughed about my revival dressing, okay, maybe that was fashion then.
My cousin told me the story of the Inuksuk of Canada. The Inuksuk celebrate our working together. They continue to remind us of our inter-dependent responsibilities to invest our efforts today, to direct a better way for all of us tomorrows. I bought this at the falls the last time and it’s still standing proudly on my shelve. I need another one for my office.
I wondered how my cousins looked like now; and the many nieces and nephews so far away, all little then, all grown up now. I wondered they had remembered that cold winter, a far away aunt once visited and played with them on that few evenings. Toronto, as I remembered was very cold, Vastly huge and covered in white fluffy snow all over. My cousin took me to a few places – The antique market I longed to return to was gone, he told me. The quaint little town when I first sipped ice wine, we bought a case home – savouring the sweetness in his study later that evening while we went through albums after albums of the toddler me and my sister in his household back in Singapore. His mom, my aunt took care of us while mom was at work.
There were the long drives to places. I remember the after-meal smoke breaks. Shivering in the cold outside of the restaurant, I couldn’t drag a puff more. He reached in into his pockets to hand me his gloves. He realise I didn’t have one. My fingers never felt warmer.
The memories were compacted into an album-ful snapshots from a 36 exposure film roll of the trip. But I believe we can take pictures in our minds too, and I’ll always hold that warm welcome image of his family no matter how cold or how long or how far away it was.
I longed to return, to experience the family warmth on the other side of the world again. See you guys tomorrow!
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