We know that Matthew is quite popular with the girls in his class as we used to hear him chat about so-and-so-and-so-and-so. But we know that he prefers to hang out with the boys, the usual ones who are always up to mischief. He has a close girl-friend in the class though, M; who is an excellent artist, and also dances beautifully (as we saw in the year end concert last year). She is also a very pretty girl. Matthew talks about her more often than the rest of the girls. And M often draws pictures for Matthew.
One day this week, while on the way home, Matthew started telling us what happened in school that day.
Matthew: BaBa MaMa, you know, today M told me that when she grows up, she wants to marry me.
The Man and I simultaneously turned toward each other, an eyebrow raised and a knowing look in our eyes. We pricked up our ears and paid close attention to what Matthew had to say.
Matthew: We are going to have 2 children, 1 girl first, then 1 boy. The boy will be called Aiden, and the girl I have forgotten what is her name.
The Man then connected the picture he had recently seen tucked in Matthew’s cubby hole, of their wedding, drawn by M. Wonder why Matthew didn’t bring it home to show it to us, as he sometimes does with other gifts from his friends.
As I played the scene over and over in my head, I cannot help but lament at the fact that Matthew has only 1 year left in this school, 1 year left with his friends whom he has known some of them since he was only 18 months old. By the time he graduates from Kindergarten 2 next year, he would have known some of his friends for about 4 and a half years! And they would only be 6 year olds! Their journey through life has barely begun.
How many of his friends now, whom he has known for so many years would he eventually remember as he grows older, makes new friends, goes through the various stages in life? Will he even remember the promise he made with M, at 5+ years old, 10, 20 years down the road? Will M remember Matthew, that she pledged to marry him in November 2012, when she grows up, ?
Why, you ask, am I lamenting over innocent promises, child’s play that is meaningless?
Because this incident made me remember my own child’s play when I was 7 years old, which I thought I had forgotten after so many years.
I had a very close boy-friend when I was in Primary One. We sat beside each other in class, spent recesses together, chatted, played, shared stationeries, did many things together. I still remember vividly his cheeky, front-teeth-missing smile when he drank from my strawberry-patterned water bottle cup without my permission during recess one day. I became angry because, well, that was MY cup!
I cannot remember clearly by now, but I think we might have made promises and dreamt dreams of marriage when we grew up, as Matthew and M did. But alas! We fought over something. And then my close girl-friend liked him, and I think he liked her as well. After Primary 1, I left the school to switch to a nearer school when the auntie I was living with then moved house.
Did I leave with regrets then? Maybe, maybe not, because of the fight over I cannot remember what. I just uprooted myself and left. We never, ever kept in contact since.
There are some things in life which you never forget. You just never think about it. But when something triggers the memory, the archived file extracts itself from storage, blows the dust off its cover, and opens up a chapter in life that is worth some reminiscence.
A generation later, history repeats itself in my son. But I wonder, if something more will emerge from his promise, or it’s merely child’s play? I shall make a note to tease him about this in a few years’ time.
Oh, the cycle of life. The promises we made in our youth…