For a brief moment on Saturday night, I thought I'd sliced one of my fingers off. It was one of those stupid, split second moments. The knife slipped, and immediately the blood began to flow. I could see a little blood river trickling down the side of the sink and knew a couple of the little travelers wouldn't deal well with the visual element of a Mummy finger massacre. "Can someone find me the black tea towel?" I had one of those fake calm voices.
Thankfully my sister was staying the night. I say thankfully because it meant that she could both administer first aid while pouring copious amounts of alcohol into my glass. I sat with the black tea towel wrapped around my pulsing elevated finger, waiting for the bleeding to stop. For about the first hour my sister intermittently asked if I thought I might require stitches, after the first hour we both realized neither of us could drive, and by 2am I'd forgotten I'd even cut my finger. By 3am I may have got my finger confused with my toe.
My sister and I had a lot of giggles on Saturday night, we talked about a different time. A time where we shared an address and a dinner table. A time that involved grandparents and Aunts and Uncles who argued and drank and laughed. People who are now motionless still shots, placed in photo frames. I love how siblings jog your memory. The combined moments mesh together to form one story. One of my parents more disastrous family holidays, was the beach holiday where my father became so sunburnt that he couldn't move. I have memories of that holiday but they lack detail. I remember being so impressed by the beach house because it was high, I remember my father being miserable, but I cannot place my sister in any of the memories. "I can't remember you being there at all?!" This fact had us both laughing hysterically on Saturday night.
I hate that I can't remember everything. I hate that life appears to be moving faster and that some of the memories are becoming more distant. Others are lost forever. I think about the travelers being tiny and wishing my groundhog days away. I think about my pregnant stomach and breast feeding and how both of these things feel so foreign to me now. How is it that there was a time where I couldn't see an end to their existence?
Coming home, and being back in Australia, is like an extended stay with a sibling. Catching up with old friends means reliving old stories, while (hopefully) making a few new ones. Driving past your old school, an old work place, a former favourite lunch spot will mean that memories are going to sneak into your subconscious. My weekend began early with a visit from a new friend from Jakarta on Thursday, then it was a drop in with an old friend on Friday, followed by a visit from my sister on Saturday, and a sleepover with a dear friend on Sunday. There was lots to catch up on.
It was a weekend of shared stories and giggles, new memories and old. I sat with my girlfriend yesterday while she told me about something that had happened this year, when I wasn't around. I'm a details girl so my questions involved dates and locations.
"So when did this happen exactly?" followed by "And then the next bit, when was that?" and then "how long ago did you decide..." I was catching up, putting the pieces together. It wasn't a groundbreaking life changing story, but If I didn't understand how it all played out, I knew I'd never really understand it. Does it matter though? For someone who's been away, it matters immensely.
Our holidays not only serve as a chance to catch up, they serve as a cold stark reminder of what it is that we've missed. I can balance out what I'm missing, I'm okay with it, but it doesn't make it any easier.
In a couple of years I'll forget my girlfriend's story. She will have moved on and there will be another story to tell, and maybe in the middle of a different conversation she'll mention this years events and a flicker in my mind will take me back. I'll go back to the weekend where I cut my finger and asked for a black tea towel so the children wouldn't see the blood and be distressed. I'll think about the ages of the little travelers over that holiday in 2012, how little they were, how they played on the neighbours lawn and collected shells from the beach and visited Granny.
And I'll wish that I could remember every detail.