A Madeleine for My Memory

Memory is a strange thing.  I didn’t post last Thursday because I thought I had.  See, I remembered the intent and not the deed, and was so certain it was done that I never gave it another thought.

Memory is moldable.  I remembered convincing my sister that one year, at the family picnic at Slater Park, I had handed her Tabasco Sauce for her hot dog, “no, no, it’s ketchup,” that she’d taken a regal bite and burst into tears.  I never did.  But she went along with it in every telling for years, up until recently.

Memory is fragile.  I was not tired when I picked up the toothbrush.  I was not taking medicine, I was not altered in any way other than in the fact that I could not place this object in my hand with a long stem and bristles.  The natural thing to do, it seemed, was to pick up another one and rub the bristles together.  So I did for a time, until the bristles seemed done.  As I moved to place one of the brushes back, it came to me what they were and what they were for, and I stared in horror at my hand holding the remaining toothbrush.

We remake memory every time we recall an event.  Remembering is reassembling, reinterpreting.  We can’t bring ourselves back to an idea, a moment, a feeling, wihout rebuilding it.

Recalling I hadn’t posted unstitched an entire week in my head, and it lay like a heap of birds-nested thread on the underside of a machine-sewed sweater.  I could make no sense of the time.  The days slid and rolled into a kind of place, and then came up, and rolled back before settling into a place I finally deemed proper.

These earthquakes only momentarily confuse.  They are not so disorienting as losing whole days for good, no record of its events.  That has never hapened to me before… but these things are possible.  And this knowledge lurks in the corners, under every forgotten detail.

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