© Fenchurch

Memories

An essay

Internal constructions of past experiences struggle to reach out their hands to me as their grips slip from the edge of existence. What am I, if not a collection of these things? If I am everything, then how am I a walking corpse when I feel like a universe contained in an hourglass — rigged to shatter on the floor once the sand runs out?

Sometimes I’m too able to reach into the darkness for them. I bask in the warm light of the incandescent bulb radiating from the lamp, no imprint left on my retinas; I’m teased by the scent of the leather pad on the wooden desk, of the paper and the wet ink, no lingering tingle in my nose. Still, I’m present with the same pang of longing I had twenty years earlier. But what hurts more than reliving memories are when my desperate search for them hinders me from finding anything. I’m left to wonder if their grips finally slipped, cursing them to the void. Should I have paid them more attention, should I have written them all down? If so, how would I have known which were worth keeping? Because this current moment, which seems so perfect, becomes the past with each passing second and too will cause me the same torment of never being able to recall it completely — no matter how perfectly the flicker of candlelight brightens the otherwise black room, lighting his cheek as he fights unconsciousness. He, like me, worries about the moments that pass us by, but in a different way.

Some believe one cannot have lived a life worthwhile if it was not a thrilling adventure — not something worth being retold once our own memories inevitably fade. And although memories torture me with their fragmented appearances and disappearances, I have never expected them to be much. Not because it wouldn’t be thrilling, no, but because one single midsummer sunset is enough to cripple me with the weight of its beauty and the need to remember it — a compulsion to hoard not only the colours cast over the billowing clouds above me, but how the light from the sun had affected everything up to this point. Because this air wasn’t the same air that, on the following morning, creeped through my bedroom window — full of the scent of dew and the morning song of sparrows — nor the same air as the previous week’s damp and thunderous afternoons. No, on this day the sun blazed through clouds, which were dissipating a hundred miles away and creating a completely different sunset for someone else. On this day, the sun had shone onto the asphalt which had only been poured earlier that week, and on the nearby soccer field which had been mowed the afternoon before — baking the cuttings back onto the grass in piles, making that scent I love so much when the dew settles. All of these memories weigh on me with an infinite amount of importance. And if I can be rendered so incapable by the light which reflects off particles in the sky, how am I meant to handle anything more?

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store