Sunday, March 15, 2009

Late Party

I realized one thing that night. All hopes and wishes change with time. It's not only that they might change as one changes, but even when they're the same, they're different when they actually happen.

A few nights back I was invited to a birthday. The birthday boy was still in college turning 21, and needless to say, most of those that were invited were of the same age. I didn't know the birthday boy nor almost all the other young (mostly AUC) crowd.

I entered a fine old building. It was a fabulous building with an extremely high ceiling, but with excellent paint that gave the impression it hadn't aged. Yet its age seeped through the fine ornaments and extreme detail that had been perfected during its architecture and construction. It looked new but it wasn't modern, the floors were of dark colors, as if a sepia filter had been applied to them, but without traces of dust. I took my time observing the little details plastered all around, walking slowly towards and away from the elevator, and taking my time to look around before I rang the bell.

I felt very comfortable with the building, in a way it matched my essence; seemingly young yet old and classical at the same time. As soon as I entered however, things changed. The ceilings were still high, and the interior decoration was still classical with well placed touches of modernity yet despite my expectations of the crowd's age range, I still couldn't help but be taken aback by their young faces. It's not that they were exceptionally young, well, I did expect them to look older, but I just suddenly remembered that this is probably how I and my friends looked like back in college. That sudden memory took me back then, and I remembered how different my experience was of that age.

In a way I sort of envied them. They were a group of guys and girls who knew each other well, having fun at a party. I never had that, not the huge mixed group, not those parties. During my college days, I'd have been happy just to have been talking to a girl. To have a party like this was to my young self very remote and closer to a dream that I had fantasized about. I know I sound like a loser this way, but it's the truth of my experience. I knew friends of mine who were a part of groups like these, but I and other friends were seldom invited. We had trouble getting into night clubs where the stupid couples only rule was enforced, but even worse, our greatest fantasy was a venerated house party.

Anyway, as soon as I saw them, I was filled with Nostalgia towards my long gone youth and smiled heartily at theirs, but more than this, a gripping thought took hold of me. I thought how I would have loved to have been at a party like this when I was their age. It's not that I hadn't been to a house party after that, I went to many and went to clubs and met so many different people and groups and girls. It's just that at this moment, I wanted to be their age. I wanted to travel back in time and be that age and have this party. Their faces brought back the young me, who hadn't experienced all of this. I remember once when I was very young, I met a friend walking down the street with a group of his friends, they were going over to his house to hang out. One of the girls was very nice to me, and it blew me away. She stopped me and said something nice, something that made me feel I was part of the group. I think she might have even blown me a kiss too. I would have done anything to have been invited. I traveled in time and brought back the young boy who wanted all of this.

I became very aware of a thought that slapped me across my face; no matter what I do I cannot be that boy and I cannot experience this party even if it was everything I had hoped for. The one thing that changed is me, time has changed me and I cannot be that person once again. Once time has passed, the chance is gone. It didn't matter that I looked as young as they were and no one really noticed how out of place I really was. It didn't really make a difference that I could wing it or fake it, inside I felt old. I suppose that's how Benjamin Button felt as an old man, the experience of the years wrinkling his soul even though his face was smooth. I did try telling some of them that I dropped out, and that I didn't study anymore and they bought it cause of how young I looked, but this kind of acceptance lead me nowhere close to comfort. Later that night, as I was finally going home, I looked at my face reflected in the elevator mirror, and I saw the lines that were made with age. If they had looked deeper into my face, they'd have seen my age and asked what I did for a living.

I realized the fragility of the moment, that moment which so casually passes us by. It's broken when we don't seize it, and it's broken when we seek it at the wrong time. I recognized the passing of time, and I recognized the change that time can bring about. This isn't some sermon about seizing the moment and milking it for what it's worth. This is about the loss of moments and the hope for some that will never come and others that could never come. Sometimes moments, like answers, come a bit too late, and when they do, they don't mean the same.

Maybe there is a Zen message being sent to me after all. Seek the right things at the right time or something, don't look too far ahead or too far behind, dream for the closest moment, and let your old fantasies live on as memories that never were and give room to new ones.

I really don't think there really is a message. I think I experienced a moment. It was a moment like a window to the past. I enjoyed what fun I could amass being around young people. Perhaps that's why life in the past was more fun, not because one was carefree, but because one had more young people to hang out with.


insomniac said...

i kinda agree, there are moments you need at a certain time and if they come later, they are nothing like u've imagined them to be... but there are also things than need no specific time and have an eternal effect regardless of your age or perception... i'm grateful for those :)

Mayo said...

You know what, I spend a lot of time staring at the lines on my face as they increase day after day. Things that happen before or after their time are hardly ever enjoyed, I was seven when my sister was born and I never really felt like I had a close sibling like everyone does.
I always think, that this gives me something to regret now. Sometimes, I can't help but think that there are things that I should be doing now but I am not, that will be turning to regrets later on in my life when I would be feeling even less accomplished.
On the other hand unlike you, I just hate the company of younger people. They are just too cheerful for my taste and life hasn't struck them hard and hence they still have an idealistic view of life. Talking to them is like watching a chick movie, or a high school movie which ends in the reunion of lovers and all dreams coming true.
Last but not least,... maybe I should keep my mouth shut :)

Ice Queer said...

I loved the last 2 paragraphs! You said it all! =)
But u know, sometimes it's a curse 2 look younger than u r age as it becomes a reminder that u r OLD everytime someone asks abt ur real age!

Anonymous said...

really well said mayo

MechanicalCrowds said...

Maybe when you're in your 60s you'll feel nostalgic for your current age and would do anything to go back to it and enjoy it. You're there now so so don't wait till you're older & looking back at it; make the most out of it now.

I can't say that I follow my own advice or that I am in a position to give any. It's just something that I had to say :D.