Usually the thoughts that float unsuspectingly into my head right before I drift off to sleep are fleeting and confused…and I usually forget them 2 seconds after they hit me anyway.

But tonight for some reason a memory came back into my head like a video short, so vivid it made me tear and woke me up and suddenly I cannot sleep.

The memory was a scene from many years ago; a glimpse of our weekly Sunday night routine back then. My parents are schoolteachers, so it was the night before the entire family went back to school.

My dad was seated on the stairs, under the fluorescent lamp, with a wastepaper basket between his knees – snipping away at his nails. I remember very vividly that the wastepaper basket was blue, and lined with a white plastic bag. Every Sunday night my dad would do this – go to that corner of the living room, pick the basket up with nailclipper in hand, and sit on the stairs and clip away.

Considering the angle from which I was looking at my dad in that scene, I was probably plonked somewhere on the white-tiled floor in the middle of the living room. Perhaps packing my schoolbag. I remember having a really messy schoolbag, despite my best efforts to arrange my books according to size and type each week.

My mother wasn’t in the picture that came into my head, but memory tells me that she would probably have been sitting at the dining table (which is no longer at the same place), in the seat at the right of the head of the table, marking away at some papers. Probably singing.

It was the time of my life when everything my parents did was law. So what would have happened shortly after was that my dad would have finished cutting his nails, and he would have passed the nailclipper to me, and I would have gone at sat at the exact spot where he was; basket between my knees, though proportionately much bigger for me, and clipped away.

Oh how Sunday nights have changed. How life has changed.

And as much as I try now to recall I cannot remember exactly what my parents looked like when they were that much younger. So comes the realisation that those days are precious and gone, and my parents are old and alone at home (cue tears) and sometimes I wish whenever I needed an escape from the occasional meaninglessness that life can be today I could just kind of teleport to a parallel universe that was forever stuck in a loop of happy, undiscerning childhood moments.

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