Memories, they come to me discreetly, prodding through my dreams, tapping at the seams of sleep, with feet that are neat, the pitter patter, the childlike chatter that scatters all that matters. As I count sheep, wish them away, but they’ve come out, they wish to play, with forked tongues and eyes of silver which only reflect what I know is there, so why do they scare me and dare me to change, when I cannot re arrange my past, for it is the only thing that lasts.
So I glance behind and they have grown to monsters, grizzly pawed with huge red jaws, they wait lurking, they hesitate smirking ready to devastate my future. For they know there’s no escape that I am no match for them, for here’s the catch, they are attached to my heels in seals that cannot be broken, and so my memories have spoken.
If only I were a fish, a three second wish to wipe out the past, I would dance through rivers with swishing tail, never fail, set sail on the tides of oceans. And I would be finally free for I would remember nothing as nothing remembers me.
And I wonder how I’m seen through the memories of those I meet? An all night dancer? A chancer? Who prances on the tips of her toes, who knows that every day counts, with smooth skin, a cheeky grin, golden hair, creative flair. If this is what I amount to in the eyes of another, will they be kind?
In their mind will they see that I was young, carefree and full of life, devoid of troubles and strife, not tied down but surrounded by light not always right ,but still learning, yearning for more, not masking my thoughts or putting on a show but asking questions and longing to know..
But is this how I wish to be remembered? An idea of perfection is the wrong direction. I would prefer to be old and wise, nodding in a chair where nothings a surprise, for I have seen it all. I may tut, mutter, splutter into my tea with a tartan rug that covers my knees but I will have lived my life, been a wife, a mother, a more than one time lover. Been places, seen faces, felt my heart race with excitement, with love, with fear, shed tears of joy, and sadness, felt gladness, felt power shower over me and grown and felt tall, and felt lost, not known and terribly small.
But wait, hesitate, for this is not the question and I know it, but do I wish to show it -what it is I that I remember? To share, to bare my soul and let them examine its famished form. I am not sure, for sometimes I think being a fish would truly be my wish -to let my memories shrink to the floor, to the bottom of the seas, and to forget, and not let them come. Or perhaps as a pet, pressed inside my sphere of glass, and let it shield me from my past.
So I tuck them neatly at the back where they can sit discreetly and not bother me. At least I think they wont, that they don’t, until I am angry for no reason, sad with the season, get irrational feelings which I project, so I protect myself and don’t have to face the fears, the ones built up throughout the years that make up my shadow, but instead I will cover them and long for darkness where I will smother them, and they will beg for mercy, but this is my curse for I only see my faults through others, who I am fast to judge, so quick to hold a grudge, and I dismiss them, or hate them, berate them, ignore them, put them away on a dusty shelf, too blind to see that its really just me and that I’m angry with myself.
Some memories displease me, some tease me, some are so strong they freeze me. Some inspire me; put a desire in me, a fire to remind me that what once was can still be. The pleasure pain ones, the ones you indulge, that bulge at the seams, which feed dreams which make glints in eyes, nervous highs, unstoppable smiles, that raise you up and make you feel incredible, invincible not sensible, and teach that anything you want is just within your reach.
Or the ones once tasted, that are wasted and trickle in streams, down drains, leaving my eyes contorted in pain, my face distorted in rain, and a lump in my throat which I swallow which is followed by tears which are there remind me, to rewind me insisting that I turn and look behind me to where I started so pure hearted and free, such bitter tears that are all for me, so eventually I turn away in fear not able to face the place from which they have appeared.
But one day when I am old, these memories will not be so bold, instead they turn and walk away, heads bent down and cloaked in grey, leaving me grieving as I cry as all I am left with is the ones that lie, that are tangled up with truth and age and not worth the ink that stains this page.
So perhaps I have been dishonest. I do not wish to be a fish but instead an elephant, one who never forgets with no regrets and so this is my promise:
That I will not shut the shutters, not stutter, not put on my rose tinted glasses, not simply hint at what my past is. No. I shall show you what it is I see as I glare into my history. Don’t stare! You asked! Let’s look into my past. This is what I remember:
It started with a cold December…