It's funny how certain mundane words have the power to bring back memories of ages past. I mean, I can understand how scent does that to you, or how names and places can rouse nostalgia, but more interesting to me are the ordinary words that spark some long unused brain cell into remembering the past.
Recently, I had encountered one particular, seemingly innocuous word: parfait. There I was, just browsing casually at some menu, when I saw the word parfait and on cue, time slowed down, camera moved closer as I found myself drawn into a flashback.
Back in high school (god, that's been like over a decade ago), parfait meant lazy, hot afternoons after school wherein my best friend and I would cross the street to go to a small store that served what was then, in my limited estimation, the best parfait in the world. I remember small, inconsequential details of those times: the dark, chocolate brown color of Gate 4 (the nearest gate to the store); the hushed rustle of trees that seemed to mumble greetings as we passed; the glare of the afternoon sun that, for some reason, seemed to be more unbearable outside school premises; the high pitched clinks of smell bells as we entered; the 45 peso price tag to our ice-cold luxury (that was expensive back then, but my best friend and I would have gladly skipped lunch for this indulgence).
And of course, since I was already there, it was so easy to get lost in the myriad of memories of high school. From the parfait shop, I remembered we'd hop to the small school supplies store that sold, among other wonderful things, magnificent greeting cards. I, and a lot of girls my age (or should I say, the girls I hung out with), had a thing for greeting cards then. And we'd hungrily scour over the various kinds of greeting cards, collecting those we can afford, salivating over the ones we couldn't (after all, in the battle of parfait vs. greeting cards, parfait always won). There were small greeting cards with beautiful little sentimental notes; large ones with extremely cute pictures of babies and dogs and butterflies; medium sized ones that played music-box melodies; odd shaped ones that had funny anecdotes and witty (or sarcastic) little bylines. After our little tour of the school supplies shop, we'd go back to school, sit down on the concrete floor right beside St. Cecilia's auditorium, and talk, or sing, or read. I didn't know it then, but in retrospect, I was happy.
Nowadays, though conceivably, I can afford to buy parfait on a more regular basis, I don't anymore. I've lost some of my sweet tooth as I grew older, and the parfait, with its whip cream and chocolate syrup seems too much for my adult sensibilities. As for the greeting cards, they've also sadly lost their appeal. I hardly even pay attention anymore to the greeting cards I personally receive, feeling somehow that their messages are trite, overly sentimental, saccharine sweet.
Oh, how things have changed.