Sea // looking back
I remember going to the beach as a child. I loved going to the beach. It would be warm and cold at the same time. I would play football on the sand and then go into the water. Easily the highlight of any family vacation.
I was an unusually small kid for my age so even the smaller waves on the beach could throw me off balance. I enjoyed that. There was something extremely thrilling about running into a wave that was about to crest and getting launched the other way when it crashed. It was entertaining.
The other thing that I enjoyed doing was seeing how deep I could go into the water before my mother would tell me off for going in too deep. In my mind I was fully protected because there was an invisible barrier between me and the deep part of the sea, that was my mother’s voice. Sometimes she would be preoccupied with my sister as I was walking into the water and she could not tell me if I was in too deep. It would only be a few moments after which she would ask me to come back.
Between those moments I would have this sense of excitement, thrill and fear at the same time. I already knew that this area of water was technically out of bounds for me. But it was exciting because I hadn’t been to that part of the sea yet. All of this was unchartered territory for me. But then I would realize that my life was in my own hands because there wasn’t a barrier protecting me from the deep part of the sea. It was still thrilling to take one small step at a time and see how much further I could go. Eventually, before my mother would call me again, I would stop of my own will and turn around to look back at how far I had come. I was just a few hundred meters from civilization yet over here I was completely alone. I would just stand there, half-floating, not knowing if I could get sucked in because of a big wave. There was a thrill of not knowing where I was headed for a couple of moments.
My mother would then call out to me and I would head back to the sand.
I was getting ready to get to school. It was a weekend but I remember being in a rush. It was a busy weekend for me. I got to the living room to wear my shoes and saw my roommate out on the porch just absorbing the morning sunlight. It was a moment. It wasn’t my moment. It was hers and probably not a significant one. But even as an outsider to this moment, I could appreciate it. I was in a rush but that slowed down time for maybe a second where I could appreciate how that could feel like. Then I was on my way again.
I don’t know if it’s the nostalgia of that moment that attracts me. Maybe it’s about the other moments that it reminds me of. Back home, while we still had restrictions because of the pandemic, I loved going on long drives by myself. I would drive an hour outside the city- always in the same direction. 20 minutes in, just on the outskirts of the city, I would stop at a corner store to buy three cigarettes and a coca cola. It was the middle of summer so it was really hot outside. But it felt nice to stand in the shade and smoke a cigarette while drinking my soda. I would then get back into the car and drive to a random hill that I found. It was never the same hill because I am terrible at remembering directions. I walked up the hill after parking my car at the bottom. It was away from the city and the silence was deafening. The sun was partially covered by a cloud but it was still shining down on my face. I like that feeling. The silence is eventually broken by a cricket, maybe a bird. I would sit down on the grass and just take in my surroundings, as I smoked my remaining cigarettes. I remember doing this multiple times in the summer of 2021 when there was nothing else to do. I remember one particular time when I took a girl that I liked with me on one of these mini adventures. It wasn’t as much fun because turns out we had very little in common with each other. She was kind of boring. But still, we went to the top of a different hill. There was a lake so we sat by the lake - absorbing sunlight.
Usually those moments of silence with somebody new are awkward. At least they are supposed to be. I don’t necessarily feel awkward about silences but I have been told that they ARE for the other person. But sitting in the sunlight by a tiny lake, I want to think that the silence wasn’t awkward. We were just skipping rocks on the surface of the water, appreciating that moment in time. There was a small village nearby and we could hear faint music coming from that direction. On the other side, we could see a couple of stray goats being guided back by their wonders from the pasture. This wasn’t a particularly tall hill but in the distance we could see a tall range of mountains, warm gray in color. Over the mountains there was a dark formation of clouds but from between a gap in the clouds , multi-colored rays of sunlight reached out all the way towards our hill.
I wasn’t actively remembering this as I looked at my roommate absorbing sunlight. I was just remembering the feeling of having very little to do. The summer of 2021 was a transitional period for me. I had just finished my undergrad in product design and I didn’t really know where I was going with it. I wasn’t interested in product design or industrial design as a field for professional work. So while my friends had started working, I applied to grad school and was going to come to CCA in August. It felt weird at the time not knowing what I wanted to do with my life but it still felt freeing. In a way, I still don’t know ‘the thing’ that I want to do after this but I am much more okay with not knowing. It feels bittersweet, my decision to come pursue my graduate studies straight after my undergrad. I am glad of course that it gave me time to work on myself and find things that I am really interested in doing. At the same time, I have never worked as hard as I am working right now. I moved to a completely new place and have been trying to figure it out since. I haven’t had time for things other than school and work and have become distant from my life before grad school. A part of me wishes to be back on the top of that hill just taking in the sunlight.
Through observation, I know that I have had phases of athleticism in my life. Up until the second grade, I was pretty good at sports. I was a good sprinter. It was kind of effortless for me. I didn’t like finishing first though. Often, I would let myself be a very close second so that I would have something to talk about with my new friend that had narrowly beaten me to first place. Often, during our P.Ed classes, we were finishing up with a sprint race amongst the entire class of 40 kids. It was so stupid. There was a lot of pushing and often half the kids wouldn’t make it to the finish line.
It was the last class that we had before we went home that day. As it got close to 1:30 in the afternoon, we lined up shoulder to shoulder for one last sprint race. “READY, SET”.....................................”GO!” I quickly made my way towards the front but as we were approaching the finish line, I decided to slow down and let the person behind me go in front of me. They got close to me and probably accidentally pushed me which caused me to fall down. I was out of the race. I had a nasty cut on my left leg caused mainly due to the heat scorching the sand that rubbed against me as I fell. It didn’t hurt any more than your usual flesh wounds one gets as a 5-6 year old kid. As I started to get up, the bell rang and so I decided to just head straight to the bus. I don’t remember how I felt on the ride back home. I was probably sad. I was probably tired. Maybe I just shrugged it off like it was nothing. All I remember is falling down and the sun straight above me.
I got back home and nobody except my grandfather was at home. My parents were probably still at work. Grandpa saw my wound and didn’t react hysterically the way my mother would have. He washed it for me, then asked me to go get changed. I changed and found him on our balcony. He asked me to sit down as he dressed my wound. Then he gave me warm milk with chocolate- my favorite. It was cloudy now and it was starting to drizzle just a little bit. It wasn’t hot anymore. We just sat there as I finished my milk and watched the rain. The urban scenery changed from children on their bicycles to mysterious figures in raincoats. I was cozy and happy to just sit there with my grandfather. I was very excited for my milk. I didn’t care about the wound. We probably talked about my day but I don’t remember. I just remember the comfort of the milk. I don’t remember a lot about him. I remember his face. I remember this moment very vividly and this other time that we went to the park. I don’t know why this other one has stuck with me for so long. It's not even worth describing. I am sure he took me to the park ALL THE TIME. But I just remember this one specific time when I went with him to the slides. Other than that, I just remember finding him dead one morning and not knowing that he was dead. We were roommates so naturally I was the first one to find him dead but we probably don’t need to talk about that either.
A commonality between the moments that I have talked about is the relationship of that moment with another person at that time in my life. The essence of these moments that fascinate me are just a human feeling or a shared human experience. I use a lot of imagery to describe the moment as it happens but in the end, all of that imagery really has nothing to do with that essence of the moment that I felt with another person. I guess it is just to make it interesting and liveable for the reader. That might be another reason why I am trying to be super careful with abstraction in my visual pieces as well. Films are truly amazing only when they have amazing actors. We know that. Tight shots on the actors' faces put us in their lived moments that make cinema very compelling to me.