Wife of My Youth

Sometimes as I sift through the thousands of photos I've taken over the years, a sort of hazy third person perspective comes over me, like an out of body experience as I look at the visual evidence of what seems like someone else's life.
There's a chronology of sorts: the photos of the carefree student at the turn of the millennium; the portfolio work of a starting professional photographer; photos of our new home, then unfurnished and unrenovated; the births of our two children; and the many, many weddings of friends over the years.
Youth doesn't seem that long ago, but my Sunday School students remind me that time has flown silently past. They joke about how old I am. They've grown up in a world that always had mobile phones, while I reminisce about pagers and the alpha-numeric acrobatics we had to perform to send messages. 07734…stuff like that.
During my carefree student days when I first got serious about photography, I chased after every storm because I was madly in love with the dramatic contrast they provided. Tucson skies were mostly clear and cloudless, so storm clouds added much needed texture to the wide open sky.
<a href="" title="tucson_clouds3 by Lucian Teo, on Flickr"><img src="" width="500" height="332" alt="tucson_clouds3" class="img-center"></a>
Now more than a decade removed, I found myself sitting in my study this afternoon, finally getting some alone time after having spent the earlier part of the day taking care of the kids. The thunderstorm outside was just subsiding and the evening sun shone bright – perfect conditions for a rainbow.
Sure enough, my Facebook feed started filling up with rainbow sightings (quite a number of double rainbow photos too). The photographer in me stirred, so I did my duty and looked outside the various windows in the house and realised our house was facing the wrong direction. So I headed back to my study to chill. I left those days of chasing storms and sunsets behind me.
I feel old.
Faith comes into the study all excited about the possibility of seeing the same rainbow, and to be honest, her suggestion that I go downstairs to take a photo of it felt a lot like an extra chore, but I grabbed my camera and put on my sandals. Then I held her hand and we stepped outside.
It felt like an adventure.
When we ran to the bend in the road and spotted the rainbow we literally squealed with delight. She whipped out her phone, but I kept running to the vantage point I knew I'd get more sky. And as I ran, those steps felt so familiar, and a decade melted away. The golden setting sun, the dark clouds, the slight drizzle, and the beautiful arc of a rainbow that hung so gloriously in the sky.
<a href="" title="Rainbow, Singapore, 21st January 2012 by Lucian Teo, on Flickr"><img src="" width="500" height="333" alt="Rainbow, Singapore, 21st January 2012" class="img-center"></a>
I stood there, young and carefree again.
The rainbow eventually lost its glow and faded, and I crossed the street back to my wife who was waiting for me. As I crossed the street the years came back: the whole stream of photographs of all the memories we've collected along the way. I held her hand, so very thankful that she shook me out of lethargy for a trip back in time.
It was nice to know that Faith brings out the original person in me. The person I was when we first got together two decades ago. The writer, the photographer, the dreamer.
My best partner, my friend and my love. I could ask for no better companion. I could not have asked for a better journey thus far.

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