On Memory

2 Sides to Every Story

“Just right,” the yellow-haired monster said, before she swallowed the remnants of their dinner.

When my mother and I argue, there are always two sides to the story we write together. I said this, she said that; I meant this, she meant that. I find it interesting how memory can play with us, and how we can play with memory. My earliest childhood memories could have been moulded by the stories my parents told me. Or influenced by the shows I watched, the books I read, and the dreams I had. How can I know which memories are mine? A four-year-old watching men leave the bank in haste, running to their car, and speeding down the street. Now understood as a bank robbery. Perception can make memory a liar.

In Muscle

No matter, tissue, muscle, matter remembers.

Your body remembers the bike before your mind does. Your hands recognize the gears, your feet stick to the pedals, your body recalls the balance. I stumble over a few imperfect stitches, knit one, purl two, but gradually my hands remember this dance with wool. Some memories sew themselves into your cells. Ancestral trauma; how your tongue sounds the consonants of language taken from your people, how your body sways to the song of a thousand-year-old tradition. When the sea remembers me: my mind apprehensive in fear of drowning, my skin craving salt water. I ask myself what stories my body can tell me. What memories does she have that time has hidden from me? Can the body forget? How much can it store? What will it never forget?

Erosion

My eyes God, let me keep my eyes, for they let me dream.

What happens then, when once vivid memories slip from me? Be it from old age, mental strain or confusion. Who will I be then with my thoughts scrambled or erased? Will Daddy still have a place in my mind? Or will he fade into a feeling of safety and warmth that sets in my skin? Aren’t we all energy anyway—to be felt, experienced, nourished, nurtured and less so seen? Can the body bank memory as a feeling? A scent that reminds you of Thursday and the girl across the street, a sound that makes you crave a crowd and cannoli, the brush of velvet on your skin that recalls Autumn, the leaves changing colour and October in grandma’s closet.

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