The sweet scent of rhododendron,
sweet on the verge of sour ripeness,
it’s bringing back all these childhood memories
of warm summer nights
at the playground with your friends.
When everything was right,
your future looked bright
and you had no idea of the adversities
you would have to face soon.
It brings back those innocent fights
that end up with a hug
and a game of hide and seek
or a shared ice cream.
When a wrong choice
had no consequences
other than a grim look on your mum’s face
and the next morning she had forgotten about the incident again.
It brings back those warm, sweet first kisses
being all nervous
only to be disappointed
by the unspectacular event of two pairs of lips touching.
No fireworks, no sirens.
It brings back those moments of utter happiness,
when a laugh was an honest expression of joy and content
audible in a ten meter radius,
these kind of laughs that make the world feel like a better place for a moment,
that everything is alright.
Life had a different meaning back then.
It was about the curiosity of what the day would bring
and not about surviving another 24 hours,
hopefully managing all the work on your to do list.
The scent of rhododendron –
It means freedom to be who you want to be
– a famous singer, a magician, a witch, a comic hero.
There are no limits to your imagination
and everyone loved to make up games and scenarios
where we could be somebody spectacular.
I remember I was wearing dungarees and t-shirts with Sailor Moon characters printed on them and I felt so cool,
cause I loved Sailor Moon
and I didn’t care about what others thought about the show or me.
I was my own person.
Being like everybody else was boring,
we wanted to be special.
I read about this cool girl who was living on her own,
strong enough to carry a horse
and helped her friends whenever others bothered them.
She did her own thing.
She had a weird name but that made her special and that was cool, as we all know.
So I braided my hair.
I didn’t like it for long but for a week I felt special and strong.
I didn’t change my name though.
I was still me.
I remember we talked about the future
and how we wanted to be everything
but if we couldn’t have it all
at least we wanted to be happy.
And have one of these cool telephones you could carry around with you.
Little did we know
that we would all spend way too much time on these devices
than in the real world,
in the here and now.
It’s all coming back now,
the bloody pants when you fell from the tree, the wings, the wall.
Everything was a playground, an adventure.
Now life seems to have become a series of making the right, the safe, choices.
Risks are for the trading market.
But then I climbed an unguarded cliff last month,
walked through a wild field,
diverted from the safe path.
And it felt good
and it felt right
and I felt happy.
Taking risks like when you were a child and didn’t bother about the consequences –
we should risk a wrong choice more often.
Maria was listening to the sounds of a running train while writing this poem.