The Roads I Used To Walk On
The poster board made for my birthday during freshmen year sits below my bed, only recently moved from the first floor of my house where it gathered dust for an entire year. I read it every time I happen to move it, which isn't too often but enough for me to remember the people who signed it. I'm not sure what to make of the comments, mostly because I don't know if that's still the person I know today. Reading what people write reminds me of the person I thought I knew three years ago but doesn't really reflect what I think of them now. Yet, I can still imagine each comment in the voice of the person, almost as if the poster board is really just a wall of subtly hinted personas of my friends. This was me, walking into a house filled with people I barely knew for a month, receiving a poster board that marked a point in my life where I walked down a road unique to its time, forever remembered. Just three weeks earlier, I walked down a path I had become accustomed to many years ago for many Friday nights. I realized I hadn't been down this road in years, whether it was because I couldn't muster up the passion to go or because driving was just that much easier. With my decision made to walk instead of hitching a ride, memories and emotions came rushing back to me about how it felt back then. Fear, confusion, hopeful, melancholic. Those were all emotions I felt those many years ago walking home and I didn't know what to expect this time. As I opened the door and headed out, a cool breeze greeted me and an odd peace came down upon me. For once, I had truly felt how a God-given peace felt like. The past was still palpable but it didn't hurt anymore. I walked down each block in a familiar but new light, one that illuminated what was once dark.
In junior high school, I took the same route to school everyday, though I'd sometimes switch it up a bit and cut through a parking lot located next to a few apartments. When two of my childhood friends stopped by my home on a whimsical summer night, close to 1AM, we decided to drive over to our old school. We didn't take my usual route but we took a path that I would sometimes walk through when I was doing something else other than going home after class. It was a slightly odd sight: one of my friends was someone I had kept in contact with after graduating from junior high school and the other was someone I hadn't spoken to in six or seven years. But we still shared memories on the same path but in very different degrees of scenarios. What could have been an awkward night that probably shouldn't have even happened in the first place, became a long 15 minutes that reminded me of how far I came. The people I love, the things I do, and the decisions I make are all shaped by the everyday grind of walking alone down those blocks. I miss it a little but probably not enough to do it again.
I walk down memory lane maybe too often. I do it because it ignites hope within me, almost as if I'm now returning with enough wisdom and knowledge to correct the past. It's easy to look at the present and wonder how things could be, or, rather, in the back of our minds, should be. A different word said there, a smarter decision here. These were the thoughts running through my mind as I recall the roads I used to walk. They're just that, though, roads I had taken but no longer take. Stupid things I used to do but hopefully no longer. It doesn't hurt to reminiscence when all it does is help remind us of how much we've grown.
Good thing I'm not done growing yet.