Saturday, January 31, 2009

I want you to confess the way you feel when you see them fall

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.


Madelyn Writer said...

This is really beautiful. You give good pensive. :)

Emilly Orr said...

*smiles and curtseys*

To a certain extent, I'm fueled on pensive. And whimsey. And occasionally pink grapefruit.

Eugenia Burton said...

We are much alike in some ways. I think one reason that I am so unhappy on SL is that I keep looking for the immersive experience that I have had on text-based RP games and I cannot find it. I go back sometimes and read logs of the 'old days' and I miss what I had then and it makes me sad.

Why can't I find a good RP relationship on SL after *two* years? I could find them in mere days or weeks via text.

Maybe I'm losing my touch.

Emilly Orr said...

I don't think that's it. I think it's more, RP relationships are so unstable on SL. One or the other person--or both--drags them into reality...or at least what passes for real on SL.

And I also think there's stages of RP. Light RP, day to day activities, are different than actually living in a full-on RP sim, for instance, and if one *does* make that choice, then one is also part and parcel of the RP surrounding their home and their relationship, for good or bad.

I've been there, I know. It's not easy. Far easier to go for a non-RP relationship, but then one is *really* risking their heart, their emotions, their personal involvement.

On the other hand, I've always said, SL is a game, played with hearts and we're already there, really. What's a love affair on top of that?

Eugenia Burton said...

True, true. I guess I say 'RP' because I don't plan on marrying anyone IRL for any reason, but an SL 'marriage' would be fun for me. Plus, IRL, I only like men, but the best RP relationships I have ever had were with male characters portrayed by female typists.

I don't know - I just really feel very lonely this time of year, especially as I grow yet another year older the day after that horrible February 14th. Bleah.

Emilly Orr said...

If it helps you at all, Valentine's Day--supposedly the 'day of love' typified by the very mythical Saint Valentine somehow--was actually (at least in France) "Gallantines' Day"--which referred to amorous love, platonic love, as well as courtly love. Gallantines' Day was the commemoration of them all in the fourteenth century, supposedly, where the value of love in *any* light was celebrated, be it deep friendship, deep love, or even love for ideals, concepts.

I know I've been much happier--whether that's any truer than the Anchorite tale--since that came to light.

I think, just based on my perception, that an SL marriage is as valued as anything else--as long as you understand the limitations. They aren't wrong when they say the average SL marriage lasts two months, from "I do" to "Get out".

But if you understand that it's a fragile thing, subsisting from moment to moment only on understanding between souls, and text-based communication having some notable flaws...

How'ver, honestly? I think you scare a lot of guys. I'd say at least 80% of all the guys on SL are not quite grown into their personal storehouses of confidence and assurance, yet, and you have *such* confidence at times, they get wowed. Whether it matches what you feel, or what you express privately, a lot of times it's like a big sensual bomb of self-assurance and amused allure exploded. Guys wilt next to that.

You've managed to create a character that really *is* larger than life. You're Mae West--guys love looking at you, but they go deep into aw-shucks mode thinking of being with you. It's not *all* just have to find that guy whose personal storehouse of "Dig me" doesn't piss you off. :)

Eugenia Burton said...

Heehee. Maybe so. You aren't the only person who has said that I scare people. What is most amusing of all to me is that I am *so* not like Genie IRL. Though I have often said that if my Typist looked like Genie, she'd be dangerous...

'Course, maybe Mrs. Paroo said it best: I know all about your standards and if you don't mind my sayin' so there's not a man alive who could hope to measure up to that blend of Paul Bunyan, Saint Pat, and Noah Webster you've concocted for yourself out of your Irish imagination, your Iowa stubbornness, and your li'berry full of books!

Emilly Orr said...

Mrs. Paroo does make her point.

I think--I wouldn't call it a failing--but I think more than a few of us daunt the men in world. I've been told I'm intimidating, which I don't see at all--I'm little, I'm usually not conventionally attractive, I'm frequently tactless if not outright clueless--but I've been told that people are unnerved by the thought of coming up and saying hi.

It's not that you have absurdly high standards; it's that you have standards, and you're confident in stating them. What you need is to find someone who admires confidence in women.

In any world, this is also a daunting task.

Seraph Nephilim said...

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

I love your writing.

Emilly Orr said...


Thank you.