27 October 2014

Memory

Memories are peculiar things, fluid, like water, and the ones you don't need every day get walled in as if by a dam, with a plug to mark each of them. But they leak sometimes. A word or a smell—it's like a trickle that draws your attention. You have a moment of: . . . And then the plug pops out and the whole thing floods back all at once. Complete.

Every day you wade up to your ankles in the little memories. Things like where you left your car keys and whose laundry is due to be cleaned and what your son said that was funny. Not every day are the leaks and floods. Takes something unusual for those to happen. You have to go back to a place, or you have to smell a perfume, or hear someone utter just the right phrase. Not anything you think about every day. In fact, it has to be something you hardly think of at all. And then it's there, forcing you to think about it. You swim in it, drown in it for a while. And then all the little things in life pile up like stones, and the memory is dammed once more. At least until the next leak.

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