I wouldn’t go back to my first kiss; it lacked skill, grace, and magic. I wouldn’t go back to my High School Graduation; I graduated knowing possibly 10% of my class of 350, and I liked less than 1% of them. I wouldn’t go back to my senior prom or my not-so-sweet sixteen or my first date. These are the best days of our lives, or so everyone says, but for me, they were nothing more than huge disappointments. I’m an analyzer, a romantic, an over-thinker, and days like these are ones that I dream about for weeks, even months, before they happened. I had an intricate script written out, that mapped every conversation, every action, every minuscule detail that would take place. The only problem was, no one knew their parts. They never said what I wanted them to, never did what I thought they’d do. Things don’t happen in real life like they do in my head. So no, I wouldn’t want to go back and relive one day. Instead, I’d rather go back a relive a few short, but perfect moments. Moments where reality matched my fantasy world for a few fleeting seconds. I’ll highlight just a few moments that I would go back to:
1) The first moment would be the most recent one. A few days ago I did something courageous, daring, and completely out of character: I put all my trust in a foreigner’s hands as I hopped onto the handle bars of his bike and let him peddle me to our destination. I know it’s not something most people would turn back time to relive, but the three minutes or so I sat perched on his bike were a few of the best minutes I’ve ever enjoyed. Try to imagine: my hands inches from his, my back leaned against his chest so he could see ahead, my head resting in the nook between his neck and shoulder, my heart racing from fear and excitement, smiles plastered across both of our faces, and the envious stares of onlookers. It was a simple moment, but it was a perfect one nonetheless.
2) Next I would travel many many years ago to my childhood when I lived in the greatest neighborhood of all time. There were about 18 of us kids residing there at the time, anywhere between the ages of 5 and 13. This one particular summer evening all of us kids were conveniently home and outside at the same time. So imagine this: parents on their front lawn stretched out in lawn chairs, a variety of play toys (bikes, scooters, balls, tents, sticks, chalk, skate boards, roller skates, hoops, goals, traffic cones, jump ropes, the list goes on…) sprawled across yards and into the street, and children running around wildly, immersed in whatever game that was holding their attention at that time. I was eleven then, so I was at the transitional age of growing into a teenager, but still fighting to remain a kid. Appreciating what I had at that moment, ignoring the difficulty of life that was coming, I played hard past sundown, past the waking of fireflies, past multiple “five more minutes, mom”, until the threat of grounding tore me away from my perfect moment.
3) My final moment (though I could pick so many more) would be a high school cross country race that I won. It wasn’t a big or important race, it wasn’t my first victorious race, and it wasn’t even a record-breaking race. What made this race stand out was what happened before and during it… I have no qualities that make me stand out, I’m a pretty average individual, and in those days before the race I was feeling the effects of this more than ever. It didn’t make me feel inadequate or unwanted, being average just made me feel unimportant and ordinary. There wasn’t a single thing that made me stand out in a crowd, except running. The only thing I ever succeeded in was running, and this race reminded me of that fact. When I was running people risked sore throats to shout my name from across the field; they pressed their bodies against the roped boundaries of the course so they could make their support apparent; and they shrieked with excitement when our eyes locked and I nodded a silent “Thank you”. Even coaches from other schools were eager to see me finish over a minute in front of second place. In this race, when every muscle in my body was screaming with agony, my soul was rejoicing. A part of me will be forever trapped in that single moment, that moment when I was completely invincible, because in that moment I wasn’t average, I was elite.