Can you miss something that never was?

By Rei Tanotsuka, 25 May 2020

A siesta. That’s all I had.

But what it gave me, was an alternative life….

I returned to my old home, our second family house, a magnificent home not necessarily in design, but definitely in scale.

A skylight spanning an entire lounge was set in the centre of the home. This window of my house’s soul was surrounded by another formal lounge, rumpus room… a jacuzzi on the second floor and a carpark spaced for six.

My reverie gave the script of a possible outcome that didn’t bear fruit this time round… my younger sister, younger brother and I never married. We were all still living at home, my older brother did not even get a token feature, nor did the Singaporean matriarch with her doting husband, my dad.

My younger brother crashed his car on the side indicator of my sister’s car, a look of exasperation enveloped her face, as seething irritation erupted into an sigh, reprimanding the guilty brother.

He shrugged and said to me, “what? She’s making minimum $100ks a year, just fix it…”. She said that’s not the point.

When the four of us lived in that house, we were young… it was a different time, and it was a different place… this time, I saw us not as the four crazy Asian kids of a wonderful Chinese restaurant, we were a bunch of grown ups whose lives remained singular. My sister was a highroller, living the life of a pauper, saving her life for something that she never had…. at that point, an aching pain shattered my heart, and I woke up to the mid day sun, rays filtering through the parted white curtains in my bedroom.

I then understood how one can miss something that never was.

In the alternate dream state, I never knew my niece and nephew, the adorable children of my sister, as they never materialised, yet I felt a loss for something I did not know.

I missed the smile of my gorgeous niece who I had never seen, and I missed the effervescent flow of giggles coming from my rambunctious nephew, the cuts and bruises on his little face, written testimony of a curious spirit, yet a child who I had never known.

I never knew them in the alternate world…. yet, I missed it. I missed them.

I wonder if all the feelings of melancholy that ebbs and flows in one’s life can be attributed to all the versions of ourselves that could have been, but weren’t…..