That Obdurate Memory That Simply Will Not Die…


We all have them – those pesky, stubborn callings from a part of our past that we want nothing more than to forget. And… let’s say about 95% of the time, you’re able to. You wake up in the morning, grab your coffee or a hearty breakfast, go to work, mingle with friends, come home, play Call of Duty with different friends, and go to bed having not used your AK and thereby declared the day a good one.

But one day, around roughly the same time of year every year, you’re reminded. You catch a scent in the air that sparks a million memories, or you glance down at your watch to see that this is the anniversary of the exact moment that the woman you were about to propose to was pecked to death by cantankerous bloodthirsty platypuses (platypi? I don’t know). From there, your day just rolls downhill.

Suddenly you’re sad, or your angry, or you insulate yourself from the world around you. Without provocation you’re mad at everything, including your lamp. In time the anger fades, and you just want to crawl under your desk in the middle of the afternoon and cry until your eyes burn. You look at your surroundings, and you can’t help but think about the million different “what if” scenarios that inevitably run through your mind.

And then it passes.

As quickly as it springs on you, that reminder – that unwelcome, unwanted reminiscence from a lifetime ago is gone, and before you realize it you’ve emerged from that 5%. One day you wake up, and you don’t want to do anything except think. The next day, or the day after, you roll out of bed as if nothing was wrong and return to the life that you’ve made for yourself. After a while, you may even begin to think that maybe, just maybe, you’ve finally gotten it all out of your system. You begin to think that maybe, just maybe, you’re finally moving on.

Then you make the mistake of looking at the calendar. It dawns on you that another year has passed, and that stubborn son of a bitch has come back to stay in your brain attic for another rent-free weekend.

I’m there. Right now. I’m making it dinner and washing its sheets as I write this. I know that it isn’t healthy to let myself fall into the same trap year after year, and while I’ve certainly come to hate this time of year for many reasons (allergies, rising summer temperatures, having to drudge through NBA news on Sportscenter, this), I also find a weird comfort in it. You see, you lose yourself to the “in the now” 95% of the time. You focus on the present, the moment, this instant. But when this time of year rolls around, and I lose my sleep for two or three or four days, and I can’t shut my brain off, and I replay the same events over, and over, and over in my mind… it reminds me that I haven’t forgotten.

It reminds me of why it hurts, and why I still hurt. It reminds me that for this one bad memory, there are twenty good ones. It reminds me that while I may be sad today, I know that it’s because I was once immeasurably happy. It reminds me that while I may be sad today, I may very well find that immeasurabe happiness once again tomorrow.

And, in that way, it gives me hope.