Life passes in moments of time where action happens. Something occurs and a response is triggered. An emotion is felt, a door is closed, a word is spoken. The face before you moves to communicate with you, or the car seems motionless as Earth itself passes by. Somewhere in your head, inside the piece of flesh that controls our personality – a stain is made. Something in life spilt and burned itself into a psychic world that you can’t control. A transparent image that can be summoned, or rise alone. Sounds, geography, scent; these pieces of now act as a ritual to then. Like a séance for remembering, and that vision appears, and all the factors of reality can reassemble themselves like it was just yesterday. Time doesn’t really go very far at all. You’re not following a line with distance from beginning to now. You’re a mass within a mass and every moment of time passing is just mass changing, rotating. The pictures flash, and we can be very thankful for that. That memory gives us a portal to something gone; something we can’t get back.
Wouldn’t it be nice if that was all that happened? That we should be granted access to our treasures that fade with the will to call them; without the pain. Memory blots the backs of people I don’t know. That piece of flesh which makes me think remembers a certain texture of hair. And whether I like it or not, the ritual begins without my request. All of a sudden I’m paralyzed in the street. My body responds to something I can not see. I am remembering something. And all that fog of now and distance from the past burns off. For that moment my eyes are not what see. Memory challenges me. I have no control. And that means I am vulnerable everywhere, at any time. There is no protection from that stain on my mind. Where will I be, what moment will be rotating into existence the next time my body leaves me, and returns to a place I thought I’d left behind. A place I thought was gone for good. That vulnerability horrifies me. Because I ran from that room, and those people. Never to be seen again. Or because I grew up and overcame that trial, never to cry again.
It’s a blessing. We get to share life with ourselves and the people we love because we are capable of remembering. We have the power to raise departed time, to not exist alone in now. I never know where I will be the next time I smell my Grandmother, and feel her warmth beside me. In all likelihood it will be somewhere filled with ancient fabrics and fresh meringues. Or when I will see the trees and think of life outside a city, of growing up in the grass, and running through the woods. The recess of my mind is like a box filled with ghosts. Not all of them want me dead. Some of them just want me to come back home on a rain-drenched moment in time. That I might cherish something outside of now and remember that nothing is constant. One day everything I see will be something new. But the life that I see now – it will not be gone. Like the folded pages of joy and the charred remnants of tragic loss – it will be filed away. How can something be gone if it exists at least in a single mind? The conscious and its many layers compose us. So I know, if something can be remembered – it’s not lost.
I guess I’m searching for the middle ground. Because I want to forget about the unforgivable, the unthinkable, the tragic blots inside. I don’t want my conscious reminder of that to make it real again. I want the bad to go away. But that would mean it would not have happened. And you’ll never forget something enough to reverse what its done. So maybe I need to drag out the scale when the corner of my eye catches a memory’s face on the subway, and be certain to even the score if things start getting dark.
What is a memory? It’s so close you can almost be there. Maybe that’s because you were there, and while the physical world may change with time, the psychic one maintains. The people who we knew, the places we have been, and the things we have done…they’re there in memory. Memory, who we can run from or live in if we desire. Neither one will do us much good. Because what happened happened, and while it does not go away, neither does the action you make today. So foregoing the power of the mind to isolate itself with fear, remember what it is to live. Maybe I need to remember that little boy I was who never stopped smiling. The one who my Mother called “Sunshine Boy”, the untainted beacon of my potential for love. I can imagine that kind of luminescent life, but I don’t have to, I just have to remember it.