I'm trying to remember to write more, so this little experiment is the result. I got some prompts from Twitter and Facebook. I'll try to do at least one a week.
This week: "I tried to forget what he’d said, but I couldn’t." from Kelsey Proud.
I tried to forget what he’d said, but I couldn’t.
He didn’t know me, so why place weight into what a stranger told you, much less a stranger who seemed like they didn’t have all their faculties.
It had been an odd day. A rainstorm in the middle of a drought, the kind of day where you walked out the door and immediately forgot what you were supposed to do. My mind has changed since the fall happened, not that everyone else’s hasn’t. What once was great was now…forgotten. The cities buried, the lives as if they had never been. The dust, though, was everywhere.
As were the men who relished in the end of days. The ones you used to see on TV and laugh at. I remember the guy who kept moving around the date of the end of the world, like re-scheduling a dinner with a friend you didn’t actually want to see. They were living it up now. Perhaps he was one of them.
Knowing what I know now, I wish I had read more. I wish I had spent days in libraries and bookstores, or on the lawn sprawled out on a blanket. The dust, the bare earth is just not as comfortable.
“The worst is yet to come, girl. And you know more than you’re letting on.”
He is right. But I don’t know how he knew. Is there something in my eyes? I’ve looked in the mirror, at the grey with whirls of gold. It’s not there, the truth. I’ve hidden it away as best I can. I do not want to be one of the recollectors. I don’t want them to know I remember. It was not my choosing, to remember. To know where we’ve been, instead of thinking this is the best we’ve ever had. Memory is a false and tricky thing. It lies to you. You want it to be as solid as a rock, as granite that will never chip, but it’s as malleable as play-doh. It changes and takes the shape of whatever you need at the moment. Something terrible can become wonderful if you just insert the right word that was never said. You can remember things the way they weren’t.
I didn’t want to remember and he knows.
I tried to forget what he said for a week now, and I can’t.
I can’t forget the sound of my mother’s laugh, and what it was like when she was gone. I can’t forget the day of the fall. I can’t forget him. I can’t forget him looking at me, telling me he loved me and closing my hand around a single pill neither of us should have had.
I looked at him, at the one dimple, the sleepy eyes. He was fading, breathing in the fog and we didn’t have much time. The fog was settling in and the blanket we had over us wouldn’t keep out the damp of the night. It was sticky, and cold. But he was soft and held my hand closed.
“I can’t do this. What does it really gain? It’s all happening for a reason and I’m no one special. I shouldn’t be any different than you, Robert. We all made the same mistakes. I’m not important enough to remember.”
“But you are. You are because I love you. I’m afraid of what will happen. Maybe there will be others and you can….I’m not sure, watch over us?”
He smiled, knowing I was remembering all the times I had told him I wasn’t there to be his mother, wasn’t there to watch over him like that. The fog seemed heavier with every breath, not painful, but thicker, like breathing in soup.
“And if something goes wrong, what can I really do, anyway?”
“Nothing,” he said. “But if I got this, others did too, and if something goes wrong you can, I’m not sure throw up a bat signal or something.”
I sighed. “When did our life become a science fiction novel? Or a comic book? How did this all become….real? I thought it was all going to be simple. You love me, I love you, we get married, we have kids, we live a mundane life in a small house, go to work, come home, and then one day die.”
Things had changed so fast and everyone was convinced the fall was necessary to rebuild. Reality had become distorted and suddenly, all those crazy movies and books seemed possible. I had spent the past couple of weeks waiting for dragons and aliens to show up, since everything else we had dreamed up had taken place.
“It’s not simple anymore. Roll with the punches, honey, and take the goddamn pill, give me a hug and remember me. Someone had to remember what we have.”
He wanted me to remember. I didn’t want to. I still don’t. Sometimes, I wonder if he had said any of those things or if I placed them in that memory.
I saw him the other day, Robert. I saw him and almost walked up to him, but then realized that he wouldn’t know who I was. He was standing in front of a tree, looking at it, and the sky peeking out from between the leaves. He seemed content.
I hate him for it some days. Alone, pretending, hiding myself from the world and putting on a face every morning. I hate him for the things that I remember. I hate knowing what a hot shower felt like. I hate knowing what that odd object really does. I hate knowing he is alive, and well, and doesn’t love me, doesn’t know to love me.
I tried to forget, but it’s hard when everyone else has and you remember.
The man, the one who said it will get worse, I think he remembers. I think he is the same as me. The others, they chose to rise above. They lied. They formed memory into something terrible. And no one knows. The recollectors should have remembered, and saved us. Instead, they’re making all the mistakes we already have and that they should remember.
I have to find him. I have to find him again before they find me. Maybe he’ll know how to forget. I can’t stand to pretend another day, and I don’t want to watch anymore. I don’t want to watch the fall after the fall. It has to end.