Sometimes your past haunts you, sometimes people chase after it. Other times you just stumble over your long forgotten past. As I did yesterday. Walking through the park (yes ! I did manage to pry myself away from the screen just for a little while) I decided to make a little beeline and walk through some of the beautiful cycling tracks that run through the city. Nested away between the main causeways and the downtown streets they are like small streams of peace in a busy busy city. As I rounded another gracious turn in the path, it took me to me behind the yard of my old school. A school where I only went for a year, and a school that "schoolwise" could be seen as one of the poorest times of my life. I was about 16, 17 years old when I went here. Somebody in the family thought it would be a good idea to send this poor student (me) to a Hotelschool where he could learn a trait. Become skilled in the art of cooking. To make things more interesting we will snatch him away from all his friends, plunk him down on a far away school and oh yes, make it a boarding school as well. That way he gets to feel miserable for five days straight. Needless to say I hated it at that particular school. I knew nobody, was a year older then all of the kids in my class, knew no-one at the boarding school and was absolutely terrible at cooking. (I still am).
Whenever I see those American TV shows depicting high school as a battle of the popular versus the none popular, I think back to this school. The picture you see is of a bench on the courtyard I used to hang out. It was located opposite of the entrance that my class had to use to enter and exit the building. I did not venture far from this particular bench cause the rest of the courtyard was alien territory to me. I was not one to easily socialize. I just hung around that bench. Listening to the conversations of my classmates but not really joining in. I was by far "popular" enough to interact with the higher echelons of teenagers.
The inside of the school was even worse. Being a state school it lacked the funding (and the vigor) to maintain a colorful, fresh appearance. Everything was old, tired, warn down and brown. Most of the outside windows where cracked, resulting in a constant dampness between the layers of the double sided glass. So you could not even look outside. When the sun did manage to hit the classrooms we where instantly cooked cause some clever architect had faced the building south. warn down broken and bent blinds hung limply in odd angles, providing little shelter.
Whenever at night, I have bad dreams, most of them are located here. Taking me back to this annus horribilis, making me sit in math class all over again. Barely comprehending what was scribbled on the board. Panic stricken when I had to step up to the whiteboard and complete the equation that was all gibberish to me anyway.
And then again. I stood there yesterday, on the other side of the fence. 15 some years later. And I see myself sitting there. I cannot help but smile at how things have changed. Imagining what it would have been like, meeting my future self of 33, who told me that things where going to turn out fine. I would have never believed much would come of me back then. A house in the city, a wonderful wife, a nice job and so forth. Sitting there as the social outcast, I would not have deemed it possible.
So you see how things change. And even if our past chases us at night, or we stumble over it during a stroll. Our past can never bind us down. For we are the ones that define our future.