I’ve waited years for the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.

Hesitantly, my fingers press on the plastic buttons beneath them. Forward…forward…square!! My eyes widen as orange polygons stretch and swirl, launching a poor armadillo into the distance. My fingers freeze as I ponder my next move. On the screen, Crash Bandicoot takes a break too, observing the jungle around him.

Crash jaunts forward, as my mind struggles to keep up with even his slowest pace. Another armadillo approaches; it meets defeat at the hands of my mighty spin attack. For one brief moment, I feel it: Crash and I are one. We barrel towards the edge of a small gap, and jump forward.

Except, we aren’t as in-sync as I believe. I wish to jump, yet Crash merely waltzes ahead to his own demise. The screen goes black as I blink lazily. A slight chuckle begins to my right, as a larger hand removes the PlayStation controller from my grasp. I curl up on one side of the worn couch as my mother seats herself beside me, ready to overcome the challenges that I can’t.

She plays on, valiantly carrying my torch into the unknown. I doze off, content in simply watching my mom master levels beyond my ability.

I wish I could pause the VHS of my life in that exact moment—linger there for one more second. It’d be great to return to that dated kitchen once more, and snuggle up with mom in front of the CRT television for another night of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back. If I could, I’d have a slew of nights exactly like it. Though I’m infinitely more competent and knowledgeable now, I’d give anything to return to that innocent time.

Those are the moments that most would die for—those relationship defining experiences with a loved one, where everything feels right. And I’m blessed to have such a detailed memory remain years later.

It’s hard to describe exactly what my mother means to me, but she’s nothing if not loving, understanding, and capable. Ever since I was a kid, she’s been able to do things I can’t, or provide help when I need it most. She’s been a guiding light and a muse, both in life and in creative endeavors. Mom urged me to draw and write as a child, spawning literary masterpieces like “Terry the Turkey,” a short story I wrote about a Thanksgiving turkey.

But sadly, as we’re all too aware, we must grow up. The VHS doesn’t pause. Time churns on, flinging minutes into the abyss until we question the very events that make up our life story. In the thick of it, we squander countless opportunities for new memories and experiences. In fact, the exact reason I don’t have a plethora of recent memories with loved ones is because I’m too stupid to sit down and make them. I simply yearn for the older ones.

I can’t say that the years have been kind to my attitude and personality. I’ve become some sort of curmudgeon, constantly focusing on productivity while failing to fully utilize the time I’m given. I’d rather smack a keyboard and flail in the dark about the idea of “success” than attempt to be content with the life I already lead. Whether that trait is a blessing or a curse is to be decided later, but it’s certainly prevented the production of the moments I hold dear.

In some heaven-sent moment of clarity, I often realize my mistakes, and scramble to emulate days gone by. I want that time back; before anxiety, productivity, schedules, anger, or pain set in for me. For her. For any of us. To feel that I don’t need to be in control, or that it’s okay if I don’t accomplish everything I want to. To relax with my mother and revel in the simple platforming of Crash Bandicoot 2—that’s the dream. Even if it’s just for an hour, it’s fantastic to shed the stress for a quaint moment.

And so I find a way to construct it. Some nights I converse with my family, and pretend that none of my fears exist. Other times I brush off my writing and watch Game of Thrones with my mom. Anything at all to get back those fleeting moments: when everything was okay, and when we all knew exactly what we were doing. When the present was perfect, and the future didn’t matter. When the world was our oyster, and nothing got in the way.

Back to a time when all I really needed was my mom, who was ready to take on any challenge that bested me.

Some people are eyeing the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy with hesitance; they stalk it, looking for any opportunity to criticize. Others seem content to find every secret it contains, or even race to its finish. I’m happy to play it with my mother again—to recapture the simplicity of playing a game we both enjoy. I’m content to relax, and feel like a kid again.

Familiar jingles float from the television speakers, as my fingers press on the plastic buttons beneath them. I smile more than I have in a long time. On the screen, Crash Bandicoot idles on a dusty pathway, observing the jungle around him. An armadillo scuttles forward.

Large hands place a PlayStation controller into the grasp of smaller ones, and Crash is suddenly filled with life. Excitedly, I watch my mother play for the first time in ages. I snuggle into the chair in silence, content in simply watching my mom play levels I remember fondly. I chuckle as she misses a jump, and she glares at me. Free from all distractions, phones, friends, and articles, I make a sort of “bookmark” in my mind. I pause time, for one fragment of a second. All is good.


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