The ice cream truck was out again, and it instantly made the gloomy day better.
Really, the sun began to shine in earnest and birds started to chirp all around. I don’t know if the latter was true or not, but it sure felt like a perfect scene right out of a perfect childhood.
Hand-in-hand with my grandfather, we made trips to the truck every evening and engaged in mindless chatter for the entirety of it. I spoke about the sunshine and he listened, I spoke about the imaginary birds and he listened, then he spoke about the economy and world politics but I didn’t listen. He knew it all too well.
Most people at school didn’t enjoy living or even spending time with their grandparents, but for me, I couldn’t have asked for something more exciting. I didn’t need a sibling, I found a friend in my grandfather.
We fought and made up, we laughed and cried together, and we did all the things best-friends do. He grew out phases along with me – we did finger painting as kids, we listened to rock music as teens, and we studied for entrance exams as adults.
Until… I got through.
Of course, I was over the moon, but the thought of leaving a perfect home behind tugged at my heart and made every night a sleepless one.
I didn’t have trouble saying goodbye to friends, boyfriends, and even my pets. But the last hug goodbye at the airport, laying my head on my grandfather’s chest for the last time broke my heart into a million pieces and I tried to control my tears as I felt my stomach sink.
I won’t forget his smiling face as he waved at me for the last time that day.
Pretty soon, I settled abroad. I knew I would because I wasn’t really attached to anyone or anything and I was used to moving on pretty soon.
When I heard the news for the first time, I didn’t know how to react. Being a million miles away, it felt like the closure I craved was a sweet escape. Supercuts of his face that day at the airport replayed in my mind. Over and over again.
I was supposed to go back home the following month, but I cancelled my tickets. Changing the dates was turning out to be too expensive, so I decided not to go at all.
But that was3 whole years ago. A lot has happened in the past 3 years. Relationships, pandemics, job changes, but I finally felt like I was strong enough to face reality once again.
So this time, I didn’t care about the timing or the situation, and I went back home.
What I expected was a world completely changed.
But that’s not what it was.
It was serene. It was calm.
I felt the energy from before; of my parents and their lulled advice, the house and unchanged furniture, the people and their mindset.
For a minute, it almost seemed calming. Grounding.
I took a step outside to the ice-cream, to find it just like it was before. The chocolate ice cream with a hidden scoop of vanilla tasted the same, the owner looked the same, and my grandfather’s presence seemed all-encompassing.
My skin crawled.
There was nothing I loved more than spending time with him. Even today, every night before bed I think of him and the memories we shared together. Every night, only one thought struck me: how special and unconditional our relationship was.
But it was over. All good things come to an end.
People need to realize that.
With a heavy heart from eating the same ice-cream from all those years ago, I made my way back to my childhood home; a home I loved so dearly and wished to be little once again.
But I wasn’t little anymore. I had a new life to live, new people to meet, new memories to make, and some people who I’d never forget, but remember fondly. It was high time everyone moved on.
So back home I went, to change a couple of things. From furniture to attitudes to mindsets and habits.
I grabbed my father’s hand and pushed the couch to the other side of the room. I took his help and chucked the coffee table out of the house.
I was taking baby steps towards a new life.
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