Empty Pages

In 2019, I took one of the most epic trips! One of the longest trips I will ever take for a long time. On the very last country I would be visiting, my friends and I roamed about the streets of Porto, Portugal. We went shopping for gifts and postcards to take home. In Portugal, Cork is a sort of staple for them. Everything from cork bags, cork belts, cork shoes and even full rolls of cork to add onto your wall as wallpaper! It was at one of these little souvenir stores that I found a cork notebook.

I have a thing for notebooks. I absolutely love notebooks! There was a time where I was getting so many, I tried to compartmentalize each one for a specific thing: one for my meeting notes, one for poem ideas, one for letters…etc etc. but then one day I’d take my poem notebook and accidentally write my meeting notes on there. I’d take my meeting one and end up using some sheets for letters… and so forth. This time, it would be different though. This cork notebook would stay inside my travel bag and my travel bag only.

Later that night in Porto, at some point between trying to find water for Bree and figure out what bus to take back to our BnB, I asked each of my friends to write something in my journal for me, for the future, and for those moments when I’d sit down, pick up that notebook and read all the pages full of notes and memories from friends during all the travels I would have done at some point.

Today, besides those first entries, the pages remain empty.

In recent months, there have been many changes. Yes, there is so much joy within changes in life as well as excitement, and EVERYTHING truly has changed until now. Changes are exciting! It feels like entering a new chapter, or starting a clean slate. There’s a lot of freshness that comes with it as a main part… but there’s also a certain bitterness. The truth is that while there are many great moments and periods of life, they too will come to an end and while we know this all along, we still erroneously toy with the probability that the end will arrive when we are most expecting it. Expectation is sickening.

Before moving to New York, I was cleaning out my room and backpacks. The travel journal flew out and fell onto the floor. I picked it up with amazement because I had forgotten all about it! When I opened it, I began to read the first few pages where my dear friends had written their notes about the adventures in Porto and the euphoria we all felt during that trip together. There I was sitting in the “future” alright… and all I could do is weep.

It’s incredible how much weight those empty pages carry; they’re full of the grief that comes with those lost “would’ve been” adventures. The future from where I sat reading those words my friends wrote, and not reading it from another future where I’d have a lot more to read and spend more time reading. All those empty pages hungry for all the adventures stolen by the pandemic. It felt like that was the last of the great world travel adventures with those lovely girls and there I was, sitting in my room about to move to New York.

In the end, all I can be is grateful. I’m grateful for all those moments and I’m grateful for all the wonderful moments that haven’t happened but will. When I was a child, my mom told me this “someone can steal your money or your clothes or your stuff, but they will never be able to steal the experiences and memories you have in your head; those stay with you forever”. I mean, unless I get amnesia, but I like to imagine the chances of that being low which is why I never forgot that statement.

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve added anything onto this blog. I’ve been meaning to write for a long long time but I hadn’t the words nor the inspiration nor the time. I’ve been more like a baseball glove trying to catch all the curveballs being thrown at me as full speed but I’m striving to become a professional curve ball catcher. Please be patient with me.

To conclude, here’s some beautiful words written in my travel journal from my good friend, Tiff:

“Let us hold this moment still forever… sharing the adventure and privilege of life”.

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