I can’t remember whether or not I checked the mail this afternoon or on which days I have meetings next week, yet I remember feelings, outfits, the weather and the sounds during certain moments from my past.
People talk about memories that haunt them. That idea brings to mind imagined images of tragedy. Of fear and loss. Of replayed horrors analyzed frame-by-frame in slow motion, picked apart to find the one single second when everything may have turned out differently.
None of my personal memories are ones that fall into that category. I do have several that return to me at random times though. In the car, while walking to greet my son’s bus in the afternoon. Ones that come to mind in perfectly unaltered time bubbles, as if preserved in plastic, while I’m showering or getting ready each morning.
Here are a few of them. None are particularly unique or special, and none are especially haunting. They’re mine though, and ones that have stayed with me, and feel pivotal.
Driving at dusk, from Colorado to DC with my dog Chief, listening to “The Secret Life of Bees” on audiobook, and knowing, without a doubt that the relationship I’d been fighting to fix was already broken. Understanding all of a sudden but also not suddenly, that maybe it always had been. I feel the hope that a phone call would snap me out of it, as if it were cement that was still pliable enough to become something else. My gray sweat-pant leg, propped on the seat, for comfort. My dog, sleeping in the back of the car. Having that call instead more firmly set what I’d failed to acknowledge for a while.
I remember staring into the face of my then 13-month-old son in his white collared shirt and light blue shorts. And, with the noise of the ocean and centuries worth of worried mothers’ heartbeats thumping in my ears, I wondered whether he might be deaf. Searching his summer eyes for an answer as to why he didn’t seem to hear me. For why he was so content to sit on a padded mat on the floor. Later, I remember that same outfit of his – my favorite at the time – and going for an Early Intervention evaluation and having a woman who was both kind and overworked and jaded say “I’ll say it now – it’s not just a speech delay.”
Being thankful for the tears in my husband’s eyes when I said goodbye to Chief, told him that I will always love him, thanked him for being mine and allowing me to be his; his head on my lap. Bawling and noticing and wondering at my noticing as I watched as his fuzzy ear changed from a shade of pink to a shade of white. Just like that.
Visiting the local mall this holiday season and catching a scent that reminded me of being 16, riding in a yellow Camaro, so hopeful and free. How much I loved that Nagel-inspired sweater that I wore until its colors faded long after its fashion had.
The sound of the drill my dad used last minute to install handles on my trunk the night before summer camp, once we realized that it was too heavy and awkward to move without them. How, to save time, he didn’t unpack it, and ended up drilling a hole in the left sleeve of my favorite red Izod shirt. How I screamed at him that I hated him, didn’t want to go to camp anyway, and stomped to my room like a total asshole. How he knew I was sorry before I ever said the words.
The feel of my husband’s hands in mine as I tried so hard to not cry during our vows. How I forgot to worry whether or not I was standing up straight, and realizing I’d forgotten and wondering whether standing up straight then would be obvious to anybody watching me. Standing up straight for a bit anyway, until I forgot again. Looking forward to trading my wedding shoes for the flip flops that waited for me in my bag.
The day I became a mom. How my baby’s tiny face was smaller than my hand, and so completely perfect. How it was both BOOM you’re a mom now and also “what now?”
None of these memories are ones that I can say are haunting. In themselves, though, they represent life-changing moments. Moments that I am grateful for and moments that might haunt me had they been different. I think about them, while walking to the bus stop. Driving in the car. They are the preserved pieces of my past. They are the ones that feel as if they’ve formed my now, and my future.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post, where writers and bloggers get together and link up their pieces to a particular theme – a sentence that they finish in one way or another. This week’s sentence is “The memory that haunts me is…”
Me (each week) FindingNinee
Vidya of Coffee With Mi and Anna of Fitfunner