What I Can’t Remember

It’s bothering me that I don’t remember things. RR texted me yesterday with a sound clip of a song, saying, “I just had to,” and a line of laughing faces. I had no idea what he was talking about, and he explained that when I once asked him why he liked the song so much, he hastily replied, “It’s comforting.” (To give some context here, the song is a lewd rap song.)

Apparently, I teased him about it for months, but I honestly can’t remember anything about any of it. What I do remember are the images in my mind that I created for myself, from the conversations we would have. I remember what I imagined his house and room looked like. I remember how I pictured his stepmother, even the length and texture of her hair. I remember where I imagined his cupboard would be, in which he would have kept the birthday present I gave him. I remember, as if I was there in the room with him, how I would see him hug a pillow when we talked into the night.

I also remember how edgy he was – how, although I never told him as much about my life as he told me about his, I still always felt like I was revealing more. With his stories, he constructed a wall around him, and the more he told me, the less close we felt. I could never tell my stories if I knew that they were disarming someone.

I think I sometimes perceive this difference between R and I, too. He tells me everything. All the things that words don’t usually acknowledge, he offers them to me. Simply, humbly, vulnerable. He waits to see what I will do them. They are now my burden, and it is the most beautiful feeling to know that I have made something easier, lighter, in my acceptance. It also makes me afraid – it is like I must offer just as much, just as quickly. In these moments, I am so aware of how much I could hurt him. He is so open, and yet, if I were to not embrace his memories the way he needed me to, he would snap shut, a quickly browning sphere of reproach.

In my writing, I am careful not to burden whoever is reading, with my memories, and my stories. Writing becomes the point at which the poetic is suddenly evident; the point at which a way to reveal something, reveals itself. I am constantly looking for this in reality. I am looking for a story that won’t take years to become poetic. I crave the permanent essence of the Story so strongly that I can tell you that it is made of the mixing of pastel and earth colours. It feels like a few hours after it has rained, when the memory of an intensity lingers like sweet and salt in the air. It is a wholeness. A gentle tumbling of thought, and image, and breath.

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