Do you already live forever

The other day while waiting for a lunch take-out, I stepped into a nearby store that used to be OSH, the community friendly home hardware nursery chain store.

OSH eventually went bankrupt. There was a big final sale banner hanging at the front door for a long time. Then a new store sign showed up.

Finally, I got this chance to step in to kill the 30 minutes for the lunch order.

It looked precisely like OSH but a much cleaner and meaner version.

I realized I had not been to this store for at least eight years.

I walked through the indoor plants and then the outdoor plants' areas. Those used to be my favorite areas to revisit, where I checked the unfamiliar and different plants that I never knew before. Usually, I would carefully study the small tag hanging on these plants about how to take care of them. Then I decided whether I could raise them somewhere in my house and how much the chance they could survive.

I used to enjoy the momentum visual imagination of the future lives of those new strange plants in our house while I was standing there staring at them.

Eight years had passed, and here I was again, walking through those neatly arranged foliage isles, absentmindedly engaged in the imagination process.

And I noticed one difference: these plants are mostly already in our house. Half of them didn’t make it.

That is perhaps why I have been absent from this place for so long.

We stopped watching TV ever since our last renewal of the Comcast internet and cable deal. The TV topbox could no longer work properly. The Comcast technicians were getting worse and worse at knowing how to bring our old cable system back to life.

I have been absent from watching TV for at least five years now.

This started to bring some subtle mental alerts when we recently resumed the habit of going to our friend’s house to watch some American games they love, like the NBA games, or the NFL games. For me, only the commercials in these games could hold my attention.

My surprises came as I noticed some of news hosts, game commentators and anchors, or the familiar celebrities in the commercials, suddenly looked so much older!

There were deepening lines showing up on these still handsome faces. And the dark circles, saggy double chins, and the newly changed almost ready to explode body shapes.

These could not be hidden even in today’s SuperBowl halftime commercials.

Followed by my sudden sadness.

That’s also when I spotted the white hair on both sides of my cousin’s head. He paid us a brief visit today from another state after two and half years of absence.

The white hair brought me back the vivid memory of the first time I greeted him from our grandpa's house, when he was five, after traveling five days and nights on a train from Xinjiang, where his family went exile.

So much has happened since then. And we both embarked on a life journey we could never fathom back then. The extraordinary one is his to keep.

However, looking at his white hair, I felt I was still the same curious, innocent small person examining him as when I first met him and his parents from another century and another world.

It was a very perplexed feeling, as if I had just witnessed the elasticity of time.

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P Chang

P Chang

It all started with the 2020 SIP.