My husband has an extraordinary memory. He can tell you the specific details of a hundred moments, from his earliest childhood. They are true memories - not just something that's been planted by many retellings, like the story of one's birth. Oh, the day I was born? Yes, I remember it well! My mother peed all over a nurse!
Memories for me are fuzzy at best, especially in early childhood. I can remember the way my grandmother smelled, or how small I felt sitting in my father's lap, but the first day of school, any first day? I am completely blank. The memories I do have are random and strange, and I know they must hold the key to something, but I'm not sure what.
I remember the day my brother was born. I just knew he'd be a boy, I wanted a brother more than anything. I remember being the happiest I'd ever been when I heard the news. He is mine! I remember thinking he was the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen.
I remember third grade, standing at the bus stop on the corner of Drumheller Road (the road sign of which we would cover the 'Drum' with one hand and the 'er' with the other, leaving only the 'hell', because we were so bad). I remember a woman cutting the corner too close and running over my Miss Piggy lunchbox at the end of the driveway. She didn't stop.
I remember the enormous snowfall that same year, and my mother calling me in from building a snowman. I remember sitting at the kitchen table watching puddles form at my feet as she told me my grandmother died.
I remember kissing my friend Missy with our hands over our mouths, after watching Grease. just for practice.
I remember my friend Julie farting during the Presidential Fitness Test in junior high, as I held her feet. It may have been the funniest thing ever. Ever.
I remember sitting on the hood of a Mustang in the hills of Orinda with my prom date, looking at the lights of the valley and thinking how easy life was, and surely that would last forever.
I remember driving away from my parents, in a car packed to the brim with nothing, and the boy I loved in the driver's seat.
I remember sitting in an upstairs room in my wedding dress in the heat of June, while women buzzed around me, adjusting and powdering and beaming. I remember looking at the window and thinking, if I sit very still, I will become very small, and I can just melt right out that window.
I remember later, being glad I couldn't.
I remember being a person I didn't like.
I remember losses with shocking clarity. The memory of my children's births are hazy and surreal, but the memory of the feelings are not. The first, surprising, emotion - relief.
I remember being with my children many, many times, and thinking - This. I need to remember this. But damned if I can remember what this was.
I wish I had written it all down, good and bad and meaningless. I wish I knew exactly what I'd said, and exactly what was so funny at the time. I wish I remembered more.
2 weeks ago