Sunday, April 07, 2013

On Memory

I have just woken from a dream in which I ran into my dear friend, S., after many years. In the heat of the afternoon, at the same moment, we each turned a dusty corner on a quiet street of our old town, which I happened to be visiting. To my pleasure and surprise, there was S., thin and loping, and wishing me a good day. I embraced him of a sudden, and he took several confused steps backward. He did not remember me. I could hardly believe it. We had not seen each other for some years, but we had shared so much. We once walked and laughed together, many miles, in the blistering desert. We had browsed the cramped markets together in the Valley of the Brave. We used to spend hours in silent meditation, sitting alongside each other and breathing. I tried to remind him of his love for huitlacoche and for the chocolate sapote, and for the wings of men. He shook his head in silence. I recalled how we once appeared to each other in the hills, summoning one another with our thoughts. Bewildered, S. remembered nothing. I recounted in detail how we laughed at the wind when it dislodged and flung poorly attached shingles from the roof of the little mountain house we once lived in. I told him of how he comforted me after I had to leave a woman I loved, who had been his friend. He stared into the distance. I told him of one of his own lovers laughing and throwing her head back and tossing firecrackers from windows of moving cars. I told him of how he taught me to be patient, very patient, when sautéing mushrooms, and to use more butter than I thought appropriate. None of it came back to his mind. He could not even recall my face. I began to wonder if I had invented him. He certainly looked like the S. I thought I knew, but since he neither remembered me, nor our experiences together, was it not feasible that I had created him, that I had made his likeness a character for my own use? Was it possible that I had never been to The Brave Valley, had never savored the huitlacoche, and, indeed, had only dreamed myself into such scenes, using the template of S.'s face as a companion in my imagining? Perhaps I was a mirrored reflection of the forgetfulness of S. Perhaps my memories, which I had cherished so hotly, were pure invention, immaterial as wishes. I tore at my chest with my hands, and trudged from the street where we met. I looked back only once and saw him, perplexed, holding my black wings in his arms. They had fallen into the dust when I turned away. That was the last moment in which I could recall him.

2 comments:

Unknown said...

You are an amazing poet...it is truly amazing that you are writing this on a phone!

Tando said...

Gratitude. Much gratitude.