WORDS YVONNE DUMLAO
I am frustrated with time.
At my birth, I was gifted time in all its entirety. Moments, my first smile as a babe, snuggling into my mother’s warmth, tiny hands gripping a pinkie. Seconds, walking for the first time, saying my first words. Minutes, tying shoelaces on my own, singing happy birthday. Hours, first day of school, sleeping in my own room. Days, months, years. Seeing my mother at the breakfast table one morning and then again four years later in a strange country.
Time is life. It allowed me to grow and learn, that while time may be a gift, living wasn’t as kind.
I do not hate time, for I am stuck with it; it structures my entire livelihood. I need time; therefore, I do not hate it.
But nor do I love it.
Time is cruel, greedy. Time took away my grandfather, someone I love, or would have loved, too early that I hold no vivid memories of him. Only moments uttered by family who remember him, who lived in his presence, who felt his love. I only know him through one old photograph, he’s holding me in his arms, too young to remember that he loved me like I was his own.
Eventually, time took away his partner too. Orphaning my father and immersing me with regret for not holding her a few seconds longer in our last embrace.
Time steals. Memories, love, people. Years I could have had with my mother when I needed her most.
Time flies. I can still remember that phone call, hearing that my grandmother was gone, like it was yesterday. Yet six years has already passed. Years gone in a flash but the pain remaining behind.
Time changed my life. I remember being happy, careless, curious, innocent. Now I don’t feel at all. Teaching me that life isn’t so easy. Time does not stop for anyone. Whether it is because you are sad, or grieving or ill. Time won’t stop for you. It never has. It will go on and on, beginning with life but never ending in death.
Time was never a gift or a curse. Time is just time, too complicated, too powerful, too frustrating.