Painted past

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The sky is ablaze. It’s running rampant with a palette of vivid colors and, to me, that sight will never leave me. The sea shines and bleeds those same colors. Rippling. Turning. All of the miniscule details were captured on a screen, marked with a faint reflection of my satisfied smile. 

I always had a persistent habit of taking scenic photos. I loved sights like the scene of narrow boats rowing through the sparsely lit rivers of Wu Zhen during a family trip to China. Despite this habit, I wish I took more photos. Specifically, photos with friends.

I felt uncomfortable when taking photos with friends— rather, I was uncomfortable with asking to take photos with them. It was easy to go along when others presented the idea, but during the times no one did, I didn’t take that initial step. Anxiety gripped at me when I entertained the idea, and I was painfully too self-conscious of making any request, afraid of any inexistent backlash that might have occurred from it. 

The pandemic made the regret worse. Reminiscing became a pastime with the newfound free time, and nostalgia poked at me whenever I thought back to those I had known and drifted away from over the years. Sometimes, my memory of the time spent with them becomes blurry, and I feel afraid that I’ve forgotten. How much have I already forgotten?

It was during this time that I came across a few old photos I had taken back in middle school during a field trip. 

I remember. The sky was ablaze. 

It was a breathtaking sight to behold that day when I photographed that sunset on my outdated phone. Looking back, it was a pity that I didn’t own any better device for photography. In the background of the picture, there were shadowed silhouettes of my classmates basking in that same sunset. I wasn’t there with them in the picture, laughing alongside them on the salt-soaked sand. 

That didn’t matter because I was already happy—happy to have been able to engrave a tender scene beside a setting sun. It’s enough for me to treasure the few photos I have without regret. 

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