I’ve forgotten many things: names, dates, pieces of historical lore—all things I expected to lose amongst the march of age and education. But the one thing I never counted on, never dreamed possible, was the ability to write—paint with words an experience so rich it only exists in the recesses of the mind; the mere shadow of memory, at once so vivid and fragile as to become priceless.
Or maybe it is not the mechanics of writing that have left—for these actually do remain, if I am to be honest—but the will to write, the desire to create something more beautiful and transcendent that I in this self can ever hope to be. When did that go, I wonder? Was it in my teens, when I, so disaffected and distraught, vowed to make of myself a kind of living doll, metal heart masked against all that could tarnish, all that could corrupt? Perhaps it was in my 20s, when I was so tired of myself, and my life. I lamented my life with all the gloom and vigor of a Roman widow. I cried, I seethed, I yearned to be anything but what I was, what I saw, what I imagined others saw when they looked at or thought of or even briefly examined the very idea of me.
Maybe, truly, it is only the magnification of self that is remembered.
When I was very young, I used to mourn the person I was. Then, when I got a little older, I mourned the person I was not. Then, for a time, I lost myself, and spent years in sorrow for the person that had gone past. And always there was regret. Always pain.
I am now just starting to recall the threads of my former self. The things I did and wanted . . . I remember those moments, but no longer is there pain. Nor a sense of absence where those drives used to be. I cannot describe exactly the nonchalance that now colors these once-painful memories. There is nothing—no goodness, or badness, nor even the hollow shape of past emotion, and this confuses me. Maybe it’s just old business, now.