I don’t remember some things and that disturbs me. I pride myself in my excellent memory and watching my mother become a child again, I feel personally responsible for gathering details of our lives, past and present. Since I was a child I’ve carried the burden of sentimentality – the desire to picture scenes in my mind and hold them forever dear. A picture memory of myself as a young girl, standing in the kitchen like any other morning. But that morning I must have sensed that the routine as I knew it was drawing to a close. Mum was brushing my hair and I was standing staring at the yellow floral
wallpaper at the end of the kitchen. I knew I was growing up and soon I would be doing my own hair. The mothering was comforting, her scent, the gentle strokes of her hand moving alternatively with the brush strokes. The slightly crunchy sound of the brush moving through my hair. Sometimes she would damp the end of her finger in her mouth and use it to wipe a dirty mark from my face. Lovely… primordial, mother licking her young clean. I wanted to saviour the moments. Mum driving us to ice skating. I sat looking at the back of Mums hair, thinking I would take another snapshot memory. She’d coloured her hair dark brown, as usual, but somehow I knew my youthful memories of her brown curls would soon fade to the pale grey of a new era. I wanted to hold the memory of Mum with brown hair, before time marched onwards.
Those memories are as vivid to me today as if they happened yesterday. Even my thought process’s and reasoning at the time of the snapshot are clear. I am still ‘snap shoting’…but I’m using a digital camera. When the moment is right, my camera is there…recording, capturing the feeling and sentiment of the moment forever. As if I am grabbing delicate bubbles floating through the air and snapping them shut into a perfect, environmentally controlled time capsule. Never to be lost. Or forgotten. Something that can be revisited, if only for that small moment. Cards, ribbons, dried flowers, answering machine messages… Snippets of pet hair, boyfriends hair, mums hair, friends hair… lie hidden in paper envelopes and heart shaped lockets. Preserving memories, touch, feel, smell, see, hear….don’t leave me….don‘t leave me…stay….in some small way…please stay.
And now I’m writing….will I ever stop writing? By writing down the memories I’m creating a hard copy – a back up just in case. I’m half way through my life – at least I hope I’m half way. Who knows – I could be at the end. That’s something we’ll never be able to determine – we just wake up each day and assume we have the rest of our lives ahead of us. The first section of my life is scattered with hundreds of memories. Memories which go well before two and a half years of age. Pre Mum and Dad building their house in Bayview. Memories which Mum confirmed, before she could no longer. One memory suggests could be a key to unlock the mystery of my battle with claustrophobia. The hard faced old woman, her dim house, me.. two years old… throwing the coat hanger angrily across the room – her finger pointing threateningly at me…..hearing the door bell and knowing safety had arrived…Mum had returned. But that is a memory for another story, another hard copy.
The days of growing up in the red brick house ….the details…. are fading. That sense of family and assuming we would always stay the same forever….
The hot summer nights,
playing under the house…..
. they are a thing of the past.
The conversations have gone now, the
details……………. faded. Just broken sentences
as if looking at a story in a book…typed words with large chunks
And then you tried to piece it together again. Some words will never be put back perfectly ….the frayed edges stuck together don’t flow freely anymore.
holes in between.
Patched together to form a vague sense of what we consider our recollections of the past……