Blurred Memories of a Time That Might Not Have Existed This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Often, I try to remember my house as it was when I was younger. I remember standing next to the giant pit that appeared in my driveway when my parents decided it was time to have a ~real~ garage with an attic built. I remember trying to walk across the thin planks that crisscrossed their way across that pit, wobbling with each step, eyes on the lookout for any adult that might disrupt my concentration. I remember putting up caution tape around my favorite outside spot in hopes it wouldn’t be destroyed, and remember being inconsolable after the construction workers ended up removing the slabs of stone and cutting off the branch of the tree at that spot anyway.
But what came before that? Sometimes random memories pop into my head: a birthday party, a sleepover with friends, taking pictures outside. Feelings appear alongside each of these memories, but I can’t quite identify what they are. Nostalgia?—No. Sadness?—Sometimes. Yearning?—Always. For some reason, although the vast majority of my cogent memories have taken place in the ~new~ house, I find myself wishing to have my old room back, with its calming colors and light, and the wide-open floor space—a flash of my younger self waking up early in the morning to see my dad off to work from my bedroom window (something I could no longer do after the new garage was built).
Or maybe I find myself sitting on the pristine white couch with its perfectly displayed pillows and throw blanket downstairs, wishing the old family room would reappear with its old and worn but comfortable couch, the speakers planted like trees on the floor, standing watch next to the gargantuan television stand, which housed the TV with its tiny screen and pixelated quality. The memories of sick days past, where I would watch reruns of Animal Cops from that couch, on that T.V., while eating soup out of the mismatched bowl and spoon that was given to my parents on their wedding day. Now during my (rare) sick days, I carefully spoon out soup from a shiny white bowl, trying not to drip on the marble countertop now installed in the kitchen.
More worrying than the prospect of maybe forgetting these memories someday is that I’ve already forgotten so much, even the ones I thought I would never, ever forget. My room before it was redone; I know it was pink, that it had white carpet, and that there was no window seat where there is one now, but that’s it. The details are embarrassingly sparse, and I have no recollection of anything I did in there save for the few stories my mother is able to tell me. I recall once thinking to myself that I should try and keep these memories, and made an effort to try and remember as much as I could. But of course the years passed, and eventually, I experienced heart-stopping panic when I realized I could no longer remember anything about my old room. I tried to think about the old kitchen, in which I remember loving to lie down on the cool tile on the ground, staring up at the pictures and memories stuck to the fridge. In the new kitchen, the wooden floor is too crowded with the giant marble island to lie down on, and the new sleek silver fridge can no longer host those pictures. But, try as I might, no more memories come back; only a feeling of deep satisfaction and content came associated with thoughts of that room.  
That panic I felt at my realization reappears even now; for these lost memories, I feel only deep regret and yearning for my memories I doubtless would have appreciated having stored in the deep recesses of my mind, but at the thought that I might forget the memories I still do have. What might I forget in the future? What might I know now that I will lose in only a few years? Might I forget about the “workshop” my sister and I built? Stomach churning, and hands trembling, I wonder if I might forget about the music I performed, or about the annual spring cleaning, or about swinging on the now-condemned, soon-to-be demolished swing set.
But, how can I figure out which memories I should try and retain? How can I—or should I even try—remember everything that matters? The thing I’ve realized is that I can’t be the one to determine this, that I have to wait and see what happens throughout my life. Maybe in twenty, thirty, forty years, the memories I thought were long gone will reappear, clearer than ever. Or maybe they won’t. But I will have the memories that will be the most important (I hope). And just in case I end up not remembering those things, I can always try hypnotism. I’ve heard that works.






Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback