The solitary pebble amid lapping waves


Hesitantly, I walked into my brother’s room and unwillingly sat down on the cheap, plastic fold-out chair next to his bed. At an age young enough to still need my mom’s hands to detangle my hair, I waited for her, watching drops of water descend down to the tips of my cold, drenched curls.

My older brother, although sitting a mere few feet away from me, was in a different world as he fervently immersed himself into Fifa 13 on the aged box TV at the front of the room. Amused by my brother’s occasional cheer with each goal and occasional sigh with each fumble, I ignored my mom’s voice which cascaded from the bathroom and into the room as she asked where I had left my hairbrush.

The night was like any other, yet it sticks in my mind like a solitary pebble amid lapping waves of an ocean that dampened my many childhood memories.

Looking back, the exact details of his room still evanesce into an obscure blur. Like a painting left out in the rain, the distinct lines dissolve and the colors bleed into one another, creating a distorted image of pieces of the past—pieces of his dark blue bed sheets, pieces of his dim lamp, and pieces of his flimsy currents that draped the window.

Although the precise picture of my surroundings has dissolved from my mind like sand seeping through my fingertips—slowly at first and quickening as it thins—I remember the warm feelings that embraced my body and my mind.

Despite the intrinsic mediocrity of that moment, the warm feeling that shared the same air as my family’s breath that night is the same feeling that I associate with my past.

After my mom found my hairbrush, her gentle touch on my tangled, uncombed hair replays in my mind with clarity. Her soft smile fastens to my memory. Her pacifying reassurance as I flinched every time my hair was pulled is as vivid as the stars on a cloudless night.

Each time my mom ran her fingers through my hair, unraveling all of the knots, was a simple, lulling reminder that I didn’t have to untie the knots by myself. A reminder that I wasn’t alone.

Each time I looked up from the floor, I saw a radiant space that contained what I loved most and who I loved most.

My brother’s room—the life given to it by the shuffling of bodies, the light illuminated by my loving mom, the comfort of support that blanketed my small body, the joy of it all—was a light in my life. To feel anything but comfort at that moment would be tantamount to freezing in the tropics, to drowning in an arid desert, to considering the bright surfacing of dawn as a dark depiction of the night.

The night was like any other, yet it sticks in my mind like a solitary pebble amid lapping waves of an ocean that dampened my many childhood memories.”

However, as the years continued, this warmth associated with my past has gradually dissolved. The seasons face a continuous disturbance of change. The bedroom walls are painted, again and again, covering sentiments of the past.

My brother still immerses himself in Fifa, but now, he does so in a different home. My mom still supports me, but her hands have grown too tired to always untangle my knots. My brother’s room—which is now mine—is still held by the same walls, but with no shuffling of bodies, with no cheers from video games, and with only my breath to fill the space, the air has become frigid.

Like a flower wilting due to the ceaseless movement of time, I sometimes feel as if the beauty of this room has decayed. At times, I grow bitter to the coldness that fills the still air, and at times, I wish to set fire to my room to rekindle the warmth.

I realize my life has changed, and sometimes I long for a time that has passed. I long for the moment that sticks out like a solitary pebble amid lapping waves.

However, maybe the beauty is simply displaced rather than decaying. Maybe the comfort will fall with the snow, blanketing my bare body. Maybe the warmth will flood again.

Or maybe it won’t.

Nonetheless, I will hold on to the memory that refuses to wash away into the depths of my mind, the memory that radiates a soft light of comfort, the memory distinguished by warmth.

I will hold on to it to be reminded of the possibility of seemingly endless beauty.