Apparently I just write whatever comes to mind. *cracks knuckles*
I have a crappy memory. There are whole months in my life I have no idea what happened. I would rather not write about those.
I do want to talk about the times I can remember, the good and the bad, the strong and the fleeting. Sometimes a sound or smell will bring something back, like the salty kiss of the ocean breeze as I lazily sunbathe on the bow of my boat in the middle of a south Californian summer can bring memories of Kauai flooding back, and give me the sudden urge to take up hula again. Or how something as generic as Ghiradelli's chocolate can remind me of the time I went to the home factory in San Francisco with my mother and brother-- even though I had gone by myself before, the former memory is much clearer. Or when I rebooted my 5-year-old laptop and excavated those old stories that had been copied onto a flash drive from my old desktop computer I used to crouch over when I was fifteen...
So many memories that I try to hold dear it becomes a struggle to keep them all together. Because one person gets forgotten, or one place, or one event, all the time. I forgot I used to work at a Quiznos for a short time, until I reunited with an old Facebook friend and we started talking about the good ole' times, threaded between my confession of my contemporary faulty relationship. Funny how I knew my friend, but I had never questioned how I had known her until she said something along the lines of, "Remember back when we first met..."
Funny, I spend so much time talking to people in order to never forget their faces, or names, or the way they phrase their sentences, or the flashes of their pasts that coincide with mine. Hours each day trying to talk to someone, wondering how someone else is feeling, what someone else is doing, on top of wondering what I am doing and why I am feeling the way I feel at any given moment. I drive myself sick because I know while I try to retain as much as possible hours tick away and something else is forgotten to the sea of time.
Just now I checked my phone cuz it vibrated. A message from Mom, and a Tinder message from this guy named John who also owns a boat. Again. Like life punctuated with bouts of distraction, sometimes I wonder if any of these moments will lead me to true happiness. Because that's what we're all searching for, even the nostalgia of memories can be called a certain sort of happiness. Who remembers bad things?
Not me. The worst memory I had is pretty recent. Two months ago I realized I didn't love my husband anymore. I've written about it so many times, I'm tired of writing, I'm tired of crying, I'm tired. I tell myself over and over I'm over it, but when I see him, reminded of him in a scent or sound, it still hurts like a stab wound to the heart, bleeding out all over the deck. But like my other painful memories, I will stash that one away as well until I can't really remember it anymore. I will only remember that it happened a while ago.
Like how I had broken up with my boyfriends before that is fuzzy, or how my parent's divorce has no details except the triangular sandwiches my brother and I were fed while we were waiting in an adjacent room while the hearing was taking place. I remember my brother being violent and stabbing me in the leg with one of those old-fashioned mechanical pencils that had small chunks of graphite you pushed out when the last chunk was used up. A whole chunk got lodged in my right calf, leaving a black dot tattoo for years, into adulthood. Now I can't seem to find it, and I still have no idea what we had been arguing about.
But just like all memories seem to be good memories, or at least not painful memories, the fact that they are just memories is painful. My mother and brother aren't here with me to eat ice cream with, my husband isn't here to hold me as I fall asleep, and I am not on the beach in Kauai or working at Quiznos. I am decidedly here, making good memories to look back on but never truly being happy now and here.
You ask anyone, I am the calm one, the contemplative one, the one who needs to get laid and can be surprisingly humorous when I open up. I have a sailor's mouth, a writer's wit, a tall Pacific Islander body, and seemingly endless impatience. I like things to happen fast, but when asked what I would rather do I would rather take things slow, to observe them without restraint and to ask all my questions in successive rapid fire.
This strain to spend all my time on life when I live in a life measured by limited time, it makes these memories a necessity. In memories time is stretched. Sometimes I can relive a memory as if it was happening now, like when I saw my dad's family after eleven years of living in California, and my aunt and uncle get out of their van onto the red dirt street in front of my grandpa's house that smells of sea salt and teriyaki. I wanted to run, I told my aunt this and she was astounded. "But it's going to rain, you crazy?" And I laughed because then it did start to rain, and not the sharp biting rain of continental United States, but the thick dollops of tropical rain that slid over the skin like honey. I waved, shouted something, and ran down the dirt road in nothing but jeans, T-shirt, and sandals. I felt alive. I felt happy.
When I run now it's to bring that happiness back. Running is the only workout besides martial arts I actually enjoy. I could listen to music on my phone and run until my legs couldn't function any more and I collapsed in a cold sweat from dehydration because I didn't drink any water before. I have. But running doesn't really get me anywhere. I don't even have anything to run from, and what I'm running towards is still kinda fuzzy.
I'm tired of memories. At the end of life people say there are nothing but memories. I can't imagine that. To constantly be thinking in the past tense, to live with ghosts and not see what is plainly in front of your face. I guess that should be a good thing, means I'm not old or senile yet. I would rather have a present day lover than a past tense marriage. But lucky me I got the latter.
I think the reason why memories are so painful is because the eternal spirit within us always yearns for things to be permanent. Memories are what the physical brain can manage in its limited capacity in the corporeal world. Rather than live in the present as beings of the here and now, humans are stuck in limbo with eternal spirits in temporary bodies, cursed to forever remember and forget to whatever end awaits. We yearn for something eternal outside our souls, but everything we touch turns to dust and before we know we too face that precipice.
Memories, even good memories, are nothing but raw beating pain. It is what fuels us, loving whispers in the dark, when nothing else remains.