You hide them, hide them well, don’t you? Every interaction, every experience, every encounter where you felt left outside. Confused. Misunderstood. Ignored. So small and brief in stature. Soft and hard. But they are there, aren’t they? Refusing to leave. Made you. Your memory. And you are never going to disclose them to anyone, are you? Not in their truest form; only deviations, of distant observations, cooled by years of solace and solitude. Still, they are there. And not even your closest ones will ever know. Know of their details. Only that there might be more than what meets the eye. (Isn’t there always?). How strange that every single person walking on this earth carries around so many little, untold moments. Stories. Never to be told. Taken with them to the grave.
Have I grown out of certain feelings of certain ages—and into new ones? Feeling only the old ones as ghosts hiding in the attic, rustling along the walls of my memory? Like a pull from the past, asking me: ‘Will you ever reach us again?’
To have become a different kind of sentimental. And a different kind of cynic. Reacting differently to things I once scorned. Or cherished.
Feelings follow ages, I suppose. I both miss the old ones and feel relief that they are no more. So strange to become an adult; to become this amalgamation of different times and sensations belonging to the same person.
I wonder which of those feelings I should hold on to and which ones I should let go or bar out entirely? To not lose a sense of myself. But is myself not all of them? Or is it dangerous to keep them all locked in?
“What is it you are trying to protect?”
“I don’t know. Myself? An image of myself. From another time.”
“But you are no longer that person.”
“Am I not? No, perhaps not entirely. But she was once me and she is in there, somewhere.”
“And you cannot let go of her? Even for me?”
“I am not sure I dare. I guess I am too selfish that way. I should be brave and be able to let go, but that image, that version of me seems too precious. Too vulnerable to let go. Maybe I should. Maybe it’s too unhealthy to keep her inside, to keep her near. In the end, even to the very image that I’m trying to protect.”
“But I’ll look after it as well, once you let go. Don’t you see?”
“But you do not trust?”
“I am sorry.”
“Then I am sorry too.”
Remembrance of life in all its spectra
…. But it was the stillness that made her stagger inwardly. The absolute quietude of the place. She had often regarded the phrase ‘not a blade of grass was moving’ to be exaggerated in the novels when so often used to describe the stillness of a scenery, and she now wondered if the novelists had ever quite witnessed the true and rare beauty of temperamental nature, such as this, in a serene mood. Silenced.
And yet, she had to concur to the very concise description it now inflicted on what she tried to formulate in her mind while regarding her surroundings. Indeed, not a single blade of grass was moving. It was like stepping into a painting. There was no wind, no sound of the ever-constant force of nature that infused the scenery day in and day out – for as long as she could remember. Sure, there had been quiet days among them, but had it ever truly been this still? Even the whipping, splashing ocean on both sides seemed oddly hushed.
Her birth day.
She could not help but marvel at the fact and the wonder; her mind spinning into various explanations, knowing full well she might find none. What had she done to deserve this? Was it a sign? A gift? A reminder? To appreciate life and of being born into this world? Had the world chosen to stop and stand still; holding its breath in wonder this very day because something had occurred that had slipped her notice?
And then she scolded herself for making it all about her. It was a mere coincidence, that’s what it was. And yet… it was all too breathtaking to be a mere coincidence. She was enslaved to the idea, silently marking it as a day she would never forget. Of all the birthdays and blessings in her life, they in turn seemed grey and faded compared to what nature so generously installed in her memory this very instant – for her to keep and cherish for life. Gratitude seemed immeasurable, indescribable; so sentimental and small and insufficient to give back in either words or gestures; what she felt she owed for taking part in this.
a fixture of time, measured in spans of the soul
now a faint pulse, dull in my chest
a line wound tight around this breath
life’s line in a knot, not easily loosened
and the words
oh, the words in my head
get stuck in my throat
should I write them down
or should I forget?
And the writer spoke into the dead of night, to all and no one in particular: “Don’t we all give a little of ourselves to all our characters, written or read?”