on remembering.

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I don’t have a good memory.

I mean—it doesn’t behave.

But maybe I’m being too hard on myself. Maybe that’s typical of everyone’s memory. We forget the important moments. We forget the things we want to remember. We remember the things we’d give anything—anything—to forget. We remember the things we would scoop out of our brains if we could. Take a spoon and dip in through a trapdoor in our skulls and carefully extract the time in middle school we bled through our blue jeans, the time in college we threw up in an Ihop restroom, the time in young adulthood we spent so much energy on someone so undeserving of even a second thought.

To add insult to injury, we cannot even choose when we remember.

Standing in line at the bank and the only thing I can think of is the time I fell down a flight of stairs on my first day of college. Watching a movie and I can’t pay attention because I’m seeing nine year old me step in dog shit directly before walking into the coolest girl in elementary school’s birthday party.

What’s that smell, everybody said.

All those embarrassing things, they haunt us. The nice things fade away.

Last night I had one of those nights where you regret things you said fifteen years ago, where you’re mortified by the most inconsequential of occurrences that might as well have happened in another lifetime, to another person, in a parallel universe. It was like everything I’d ever done and regretted paraded past my field of vision and every good thing that’s ever happened to me receded into a corner to wait out the storm.

This morning everything is back to normal. But last night—well, last night was like a condensed movie version of my life. Just the sad bits. Just the embarrassing moments. Just the really awful stuff.

When I finally fell asleep, I had a dream about Hannibal Lector. I had a dream about a vial of blood. I had a dream about a jacket covered in eyeballs.

I had a dream I was shot in the stomach. But it wasn’t that serious. I was going to be fine. I was going to be OK.

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photographs taken with a disposable underwater camera in Virgin Gorda, BVI

 

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