He said he wished he'd never met her. I remember. I can't not--there's someone, out there, on the wide grid, who wished he'd never met me. Whose fondest dream would be realized if, one day, I just--disappeared. A hint of sugared ozone, a puff of glitter on the autumn wind--the carnival picking up and traveling on, moving into winter.
Time for more sideshows next summer, with new faces, new games, new rides to exalt and terrify.
But not the fair that left. Not the carnival that moved on. That--save for trampled grass, crumpled litter, twist of oiled paper and trailing ribbon--that carnival is gone forever. And the longer the field recovers, the more the mind will reach the point where they cannot see where feet trod, they cannot pick out at a glance where the Ferris wheel stood, where the bumper cars were, where the haunted house loomed, all painted wood and turning
This is the value--and the danger--of nostalgia. If memory is no longer reinforced, it fades. If memory is not kept vital, kept alive, it withers and grows weak, distant, the strong song reduced to tortured breathing, until finally, the breath comes not at all. And we have, then, forgotten.
It happens with all things. What we wore when we were first kissed. What we heard on the first date. The curve of their throat, the turn of their shoulder, the taste of their skin. What we felt when we argued. Moments, trapped in time, trapped in memory.
I cling too hard to memory, most times. Nostalgia flavors every breath I take, the scent of shadows and dust, roses and rainsoaked earth. I have to make a deliberate decision, expend conscious effort, to release my mental fist's tight clasp on the past. It takes work, to let go. It takes work to let myself forget.
I admit I'm damaged, that I forget far too much, that I will always forget. It is why I seek to reinforce so much, letters, notes, phrases, said over and over, anything to cross the mind's barrier between short-term storage and the long reach of deep memory.
The forgetting started last November, when I was twisting around memories best left behind, holding fast to them anyway out of habit, out of old remembered pain. Somehow, releasing those moments would mean I would lose something, have lost, somehow, because I had not retained them, sharp and cutting; I had chosen to make my sacrifice meaningless. Banal.
I no longer think this, but I think that work needs to begin again. Words and conversations, pictures and props, the gradual ephemera of lives and loves long ago severed...I need to start again. Put more things away, more memories left to drift and decay, far from active recollection. Keep them until the pain is gone, and I can make final decisions to retain, or to destroy.
What I have...shines, and more consistently than it pains. What I have nurtures, and I would forget much to retain that nurturing. What I have, it is my believe, is better than what I lost.
We all have things in our past which haunt us, which pain us, which make us wince away. Consider forgetfulness a means by which to give the hurt places time to heal. To let slow time and kinder experience layer over the raw wounds, like nacre round the bit of sand that irritates the oyster.
Some things I will keep. Obelisks of warning. Signposts of experience that carry nothing more than a single banner, a word, a phrase, a carved rune; enough to prick the skin to gain a flash of recall. More than that, I need to begin to put my past behind me.
It won't be easy. I, who live in the past more than I live in the present or dream of the future, will be uprooting from all the lands I know. It will take time, time and care, more time than I want, more care than I think I need.
But it needs to be done. And, as with every other personal event...the only one to do it is me.