Unforgettable

484839_556219614475064_432233289_n“Do not allow me to forget you.” ― Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezOf Love and Other Demons

A – Z Challenge – Day 21

Unforgettable

What are the unforgettable moments of your life?

What are the times you think back on without regret or nostalgia; just joy, pure joy?

For me, I remember experiences, people.

Holding hands. That first delicious, unexpected kiss.

The soft mist rising off the falls in Whatcom Falls Park. The slippery stones we stood on watching the river, as frogs and minnows and dragonflies and trout swam and played in the swatches of light filtering through the trees.

“Memory is curated. All this paraphernalia you collect to ward off forgetting.” ― Lauren BeukesThe Shining Girls

I remember a burnt orange moon floating above the Mediterranean sea, water glittering beneath it, as my train pulled out of the South of France.

I remember having cappuccinos and black and white cake at the Bleeker Street Cafe with Karen, after we finally finished our last Great Books course at NYU.

I remember trying to forget the night I met M. That shirt the color of the sky. The feeling of instant, electric rapport. My surprise that I didn’t shower him with sparks when he reached out to touch me, in front of the Valley Arts movie theater.

“I love that hair — that red hair,” he said, cupping a handful of it, making me weak in the knees.

***

Life is a series of moments

I remember walking through art galleries in Santa Fe with my mother, one of only two trips we’ve taken together since I left home. We ate blue corn tortillas and burning hot enchiladas with green sauce. She fell in love with a Kachina – stood mesmerized in front of that store again and again – filled up remembering the Hopi of her Depression era childhood.

I remember hearing Elton John say my name at the last concert in London thirty five years ago.  He dedicated Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word to me, the ‘girl from America.’  I remember dancing in the aisles of Madison Square Garden ten years later with Mari. I remember the husk of her voice as she sang, Sad Songs Say So Much, at the top of her lungs.

I remember watching the Beatles play Shea Stadium when I was four. The screaming girls in their kitten glasses, plaid girls’ school skirts, crisp white blouses, and patent leather shoes.

I remember the grad school acceptance letter from USC, and the subsequent migraine I had for five days afterward, wondering how I’d pay for it. (Still wondering that now.)

I look around my house, and everywhere I see reminders: a photo of my mother as a bride, the heart-shaped box I was given for Valentine’s Day one year, the slate gray teapot, the piles of books on my bedside table.

Unforgettable, that’s what you are

I remember eating Rainier cherries and fresh red pepper soup with my mom, listening to Hannah Creek rushing by, as rain dripped off the eaves of our house a week after her sister died, three months after Daddy.

I remember the first time I saw my work in print – that swelling feeling of pride and fear and disbelief.

I remember so many small details: quiet days, unremarkable and fleeting, sitting with a cup of coffee, chatting with a friend days before she committed suicide. How could I know it would be the last time I’d ever see her – lit up and filled with the color of her young life?

We catalog and save those snippets of time, carefully folding them up, tucking them into a drawer inside our heads that we sometimes don’t want to open.

Always, always, the ghosts are here with us, though.

We are marked up, sometimes even black and blue, sometimes simply dusted with the smudge of the fingerprints of all those people, and pets, and notions, and dreams, and wishes, that make us, us.

We remember, because somewhere deep inside, we don’t want to forget.

© 2014  Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

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