I Don’t Remember

30 Jan

I Don’t Remember*

There was a time when you told me about how you climbed into your closet above where your clothes were hung up, and called it a hideout. I thought it was wonderful and I told you so. Your other friends wouldn’t climb up there because they were scared, but I did. I thought you would like that I was as adventurous as you, and I thought you did. Once on a snow day I trudged to your house in knee-deep snow because I wanted to see you. Because I missed you. When I got sick you made me warm food and served it to me in bed.  You always tried to get me to eat more, and I thought that you would be an excellent mother. When you rocked my baby puppy in your arms and sang him lullabies, I only thought it more. You used to play me songs, too. Some of them were sad, though most of them were happy. Sometimes you would say that they reminded you of me, but I don’t remember what they were, anymore.

I do remember when you told me that I shouldn’t straighten my hair because it didn’t make me look any better. You said that I shouldn’t eat so much because I wasn’t exercising as much anymore. When I told you that was mean, you told me that I was much too sensitive about everything. I remember when you told me that you didn’t believe that love was real, and that everybody was just unhappily faking it. I remember when we got lost and you didn’t want to ask for directions. I asked for directions anyways, and you got so angry you cried. I remember the time when I found out all the things you said about me; all the things you thought, and I fell apart. I remember how easily you forgot that I loved you. And you loved me.

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There was a time when you told me I was perfect. I was too afraid to tell you that I wanted to be your definition of perfect so badly, so I didn’t tell you. You wanted to put your arm around me but I wouldn’t let you. It was because I loved you too much, and not too little. But you didn’t know, and even I don’t understand anymore. I only know that it’s true, because the progression of my memory has kept this fact for all these years. But you let this go, and so many other things, for so long. You rested your head on my shoulder and I rested my head by yours. I don’t know why, but you might have loved me too. And then I don’t know why I loved you, but I think it might have been the way you thought. There were plans, dreams, and little pieces of philosophy. There were ideas. So many ideas, but I don’t remember what they were, anymore.

I do remember felling numb, and walking in circles around my house. I couldn’t feel anything except my stomach, and it felt like a great pit filled with bricks. I remember shaking and crying, and sleeping all the time because I didn’t want to be awake. I remember throwing up everything I ate for days, and ignoring every bit of World History for weeks to think about you, not out of joy but obligation. Every time the bricks came back. I remember seeing you smile, and I remember realizing that I could have made you happy if I hadn’t been so selfish and stupid. I could have made myself happy too. I remember covering up all the feelings, and waiting for them to resurface again in my dreams.

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There was a time when we had a bake sale and sold cookies and lemonade. We were going to raise money for charity, but we never earned any. You came to my house in a skirt and ballet flats, and we sat in my neighbor’s yard. When we got bored we put cups over our noses and acted like piglets. We laughed and laughed. Later, when I knew you better, we spent several days together during spring break. We went to Target and I tried on several dresses, one of which I got stuck in and you had to help me out. At night we would stay up talking. It made me so happy to talk to you, because you were somehow reasonable and yet optimistic. We talked for hours and hours, but never about the same thing for more than a few minutes. I guess that means there must have been hundreds of different topics of conversation, but I don’t remember what they were, anymore.

I do remember when you showed me Pink Floyd. I felt like you had taken something away from me and given me something else in return. I wasn’t sure which of the two things I wanted more, but I definitely wanted them both. I loved Pink Floyd. I listened to it every night before I went to bed, for months. I told you I understood, and I think I did. I remember when you told me that you didn’t believe in God anymore. I nodded, solemn and understanding. I knew that the idea was improbable, and we were kidding ourselves when we said that we believed it. You only said it; we both knew that the dream had been falling apart for a while. I remember the talks late at night about how pointless this was, and how we trick ourselves on purpose because we have to. I remember that you were the person who really made me forget what it means to be happy.

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Some days I start to panic because I realize that there will never be another person like you. There will be more people who I love, but I will never love them in that pure, whole and innocent way that I loved you. You were one of the people (and there were so few) who saw the way I was in the first paragraph, and also watched me become the person of the second. Because I grew up. We all grew up. Most of the time this is a good thing, because we’re wiser now, and there are lots of mistakes that knowing you has taught me not to make. When you say that we were so stupid then, I know that it’s true… and yet sometimes I wish to go back there, even if only in my mind; and that’s when I start to panic. Because I forget, and because I miss the way it was, even if I don’t quite recall specifics. I miss the dreams we had, that we would whisper in each other’s ears… but I don’t remember what they were, anymore.

*This piece was inspired by Karin’s I Remember.

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