Memory

Today I was struck by a sudden memory of a guy I knew.

He died 3 years ago, and I can't say he was someone I knew well.. just a constant figure in my life due to mutual friends.

But when I thought of him today, my stomach turned itself in knots and I've been feeling awful ever since.

you'd be surprised just how much reminds me of you. though you were never around i thought of you constantly. and now i reap what i sew

I had another dream about you last night, and lately memories of times we've spent together have been running through my mind. I think it's because I miss you... I have not seen you in so long. I wish I could see you some time soon but until then I have the memory. My memories, the ones with you in them, are colored differently. I wish I could tell you about them. I miss listening to you tell me stories about things you've done, places you've been, people you've known. I love learning about you, I love listening to you talk about anything, and getting to know you through that. I just hope I can see you soon so that I can have another memory...but maybe I'm just being silly.

There are so many memories I would pay to have erased. The first time I saw my first love cry, knowing I was the cause. Everytime I've dissapointed my father. Losing the worm in my belly without even knowing it was there, and never bein able to tell him.

The funny thing about a memory is that you can cut a big black hole in it. Suddenly you've forgotten something that wasn't important or because you knew you didn't want to remember it later. You sit down in a tiny room in your head and you loose yourself in the great vast abyss that is your memory.

I know I couldn't have had a terrible childhood but I just don't remember it. From ages 6-15 it's pretty fuckin patchy. I sat down one day and decided I didn't want to remember. Every so often I suppose you just do that.

Memories of the random little things like riding my bike down a hill near the baby sitter's and getting grounded. Or various bits and pieces of vacations. Or the occassional times with my sister, arguements with my parents, and so on.

I must have decided when I was younger that it wasn't important to remember these things, they were not going to be necessary things for any sort of job training in the future. I never remember ages anymore. I remember events that could correlate to an age, such as report cards and being yelled at about them not all being solid A's...Oh well.

Memories have a funny way of clouding the way we preceive things from that point forwards. In some ways I suppose it's a good thing I forgot most of those experiences. The lack of memory improves my struggle against biased.

Music, scent, certain images will spark a brief memory trigger. It's kidna like a domino effect after that. Hearing certain sounds made be other people that happen to be in the room may also do that. You hear the sounds of people cuddling and whispering sweet nothings in one another's ears, or having a conversation without words and you remember a night or a series of nights, days, months, years that you spent with a certain some one or that you spent away from the and how you long to be back with them again.

It's the way that the summer smells on those clearest nights after the rain's cleared out while you're sitting with your back against a tree looking at the stars. The way your hair falls in your face and the way you remember that he looked when he glanced in your direction. That's memory.

It could also be the pain of loss, while you're all alone in your room, incense burning. As your room fills with the smoke you find yourself lost in this room where the memory depicted is just as painful as it was the first time your heart was broken, that your emotional support was shattered.

Sometimes I'm glad I don't remember much, the memories can be painful or they can be kind, but ultimately, I don't know why I don't remember.

I have a distinct memory from when I was four years old. My father had just picked me up for one of his monthly visits and was taking me back to his house with his new wife and stepsons in the middle of nowhere. I was lonely, and feeling trapped, and looking out the passenger-side window at the skyline of a nearby city as we drove over an overpass. I spotted a giant bowling pin lit up on top of a bowling alley, and my little eyes lit up with wonder. "Are the pins that big on the inside? How do you knock them over?" I said to myself, softly enough that my father couldn't hear, "Four". I was four years old, and, for some reason, thinking only about that one fact. I said my age out loud, and it's forever been a marker in my memory, helping me to figure out how old I was in other childhood memories.

I tried to do the same thing deliberately, years later. I was on a camping trip with my mother and sister, and laid down on my back in an empty tent, saying my age out loud. I have no idea how old I was then, so I guess it didn't work.

Somewhere between when I was four years old in my father's car and when I was x years old in a tent, I was at lunch in elementary school and thinking about the idea of deciding that a particular memory was going to last forever so it can help you hold on to your fleeting recollection of the fine details of your long life. Each teacher's class was separated into their own block of tables, and the principal of the school would call up a teacher's class to get in line to eat. As the principal called over the loudspeaker, "Walk, Mrs. Stonebreaker's class", I decided that, as an experiment, I was going to remember that one moment forever.

In the past, it's been like this: Only after something is gone, do I go to the effort to savor the memory of it in my mind. Throughout my childhood, I never made any more attempts to immortalize arbitrary moments in my memory, much less to hold on to the memories of people, places, and events that I've come to long for terribly now that they're gone. I knew that there would come a day when I wouldn't be able to remember the sound of my brother's voice. I thought I was prepared for losing him in my memory like I lost him in the flesh. I just didn't know it would come so quickly. And now it's agonizing that.. I don't know... that I lost the last chance to keep him alive, in a way. And that it just shows that I'm never going to be able to hang on to... well, anything.

I had a problem for awhile. I've largely learned to control it now, but it still creeps up to haunt me on occasion. I would take whatever present moment I was in at the time and, in trying to hold on to it for the future, I would start viewing it in the context of the future. I would be at a funeral alone, years and years in the future, thinking back through hazy memories of what these friends and lovers were like when they were real and alive. And suddenly the present-senses would open up to my future-mind and I would see, with heartbreaking clarity, how beautiful that moment really was in the context of my life. When those people were alive, they made people smile. They made heartbreakingly beautiful music. They cared about each other. They cared about me. And the weight of everything that was going to be lost would come pressing down on my heart and I would feel like I would die if I were witness to any more of the beauty of the present. How do you explain to someone why you start tearing up and have to leave in the middle of friends' concerts?

I wish I could be four again.