I remember when there was nothing to remember. I remember a time before it was necessary to remember anything at all – days where I just woke and moved and ate and slept without bothering about memory.
We went out to play without thinking about coming back – our mothers would call us when it was time to eat and when it was time to sleep again. We lived like that – from second to second.
I remember the times when the more we played the less we would bother about the effect we had on the people around us and the animal ways they had of making us feel that we should not be reading and playing and enjoying ourselves. Even now, as I write, I should not be writing – I should be working. I am taking ten minutes out to do this and I feel guilty.
I never felt guilty as a small child. I remember that.
Growing up is a matter of learning rules. Rules to bind us to places and people. Rules to keep us safe. Rules to keep us driving down an endless highway that can only lead to one place, and it ain’t Santa Monica, California.
I remember when I didn’t have to look up things on the internet before I gave my sage opinion about this and that. The internet has become a manifestation of just another rule.
I wish that I could break all these rules but they are bound too tight about me.
Oh look. Do you see that? A forbidden subject has flashed into my mind – suicide!
It occurs to me that the only way to break all the rules is to kill oneself. Rules can’t bind me from the other side of death.
I say that and then I think ‘I don’t know that for sure.’ And I guess that it’s this uncertainty that keeps most of us bound to this plane, this existence, this set of rules.
But I’m going to break all of those rules.
I don’t remember the way that your hair fell across your face – was it to the left or to the right. Why does this seem so important to me now, of all times – just as I’m about to leave?
It’s been hard thinking about you recently. I seem to remember the good things along. I only seem to be able to remember your kind eyes and the way made me feel when you did something nice for me, like wrapping your arms around me when I was cold, or blowing flies out of my eyes when they flew in there. It seems like they were always getting in there.
I should be remembering the thing you did that got me annoyed – like the time you … But I just don’t remember them.
I guess that’s why I’m choosing to leave.
You always said that I needed a balance. And I never listened. I ought to have. I still need to now.
If I could only remember the scorn in your eyes as you watched me that day. But which day?
If I could only bring your mean streak to mind. But I can’t.
God, I miss you so much!
I’m going to go now. A world without your ever-constant smile, without the kindness that never failed me, without the feel of your fingertips against my cheek – that’s not a world worth living in.
I’d write you a note – something just for you, but I know that it’d just fall down the back of the sofa and get lost, or accidentally get burnt on the cooker. I’ve seen you do that to letters, and not just the red ones that demand and demand and demand more and more from you until there was nothing left but a cold look on your face. But I don’t remember that look. I don’t remember your pain. I don’t remember.
So instead of a note, I’m sending this message into the world instead.