Of all the things I’ve lost over the years, I used to miss my eidetic memory the most. I had a memory that could play back conversations, instructions and classroom lectures as flawlessly as any video camera. I had a memory for text that used to be a parlour trick in literature classes. (“It says in the third paragraph on page 389, halfway down the righthand side of the page…”)
That was one of the first things to go, coming along about the time I started getting those first warning tingles in my littlest toes. For the longest time I didn’t care about it being gone at all, so focused was I on the unremitting pain. But as the pain as gradually been more controlled, I have more and more days where I mutter under my breath as I leave yet another note for myself in my iPhone.
Now, though? Now I’m starting to think that memory is a poisoned cake. It may lure you in with sweet, tangy sponge and icing thick with butter, tiny bits of sugar puckering your teeth. A few bites, though, and the ache cuts so deep within your heart it feels as though your soul swallowed diamond coral.
I watched as Gob sniffed the wet grass looking for all the new things here in his new life. Beside his wirey whippet youngness Quinn looks suddenly ancient, packed under a welter of years. I can’t help but remember ten summers ago–ten!!–when the last new puppy sniffed around our place to get to know its barriers. Casey and Quinn were the wirey whippets dashing merrily around the place and making us laugh with their enthusiasm. We all played games of chase together.
Now I sit, aching and lame, watching one dog now tiptoe across the grass he knows so well, grass that has been his alone in the two years since his brother went on. The other dog has done nothing wrong, other than be young and new and accidentally brush the places in my mind I’d rather not go. It’s not his fault. I’d rather he be here learning our yard than waiting in a concrete cell for a death sentence that was also no fault of his.
But at the same time I wish that there were a way to not have so many of the good memories also hurt so bad.
I was initially going to say that I wish I, like goldfish, had no real memory to speak of. Then I realised all that I would lose. I could say goodbye to the first time I looked at a Richard Scarrey book and realised that I knew what all those black marks meant. I could no longer visit the first time Tommy was old enough to walk at Disney World and was so enchanted by Small World. I’d have to forget the purple pinata at my tenth birthday party and the nine hour, all-night conversation in the 70s-era paneled apartment where I fell in love with my husband.
I don’t want to lose those things. But at the same time I don’t want them to hurt either.
Won’t Heaven be a tremendous place?!? No more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain! What a promise! I know that life will be eternal, but I wouldn’t mind if it lasted only one day. A day without any of those things would be the greatest gift.