Wednesday, November 14, 2012

1987

It was raining as we walked in the park. I don't remember what we said. It seems like as you get older everything just joins the mush, and you're left with impressions, echoes of long ago felt emotions, perhaps reflections of how you did feel, perhaps only simulacra resembling how you wish you had felt. Some like to have photos to remind them how it was; I prefer the mush. So we kissed, the smell of the wet earth and our breath steam in the air. Brighton hasn't changed. I was there a few weeks ago. It's still like a pair of old, comfortable shoes: scruffy but not broken or hard. England hasn't changed. It is still beautiful where it's beautiful, and the worst place on Earth where it's bad. It strikes me that it's real, when we say that somewhere is our fatherland (or our motherland, if you like), that's real. You cannot lose it, can't shake it off. I could no sooner take another nation than I could take another dad. *** Which is a strange thing to think when you think that I am another dad. *** I remember her labia were very pink. All I can remember is seeing them. I mean, I can just about recall her face and wouldn't forget how she did her hair. But I can't recall her doing or saying anything. I think I listened to the Pixies. I remember having the record; I can see myself putting it on a turntable. But I can't recall hearing it; I can't recall a moment of loving it. Not even mush. Things I relinquished. Everything slips away but a pair of pink lips. Most everything. Today on the bus I saw a woman who looked very much like Bella, so much like her that for some time I thought it was her. Could she blank me? That is what I was vain enough to think. I was thinking, what kind of conversation would we have anyway? I have nothing to say past how are ya. How are you? How's the kids? How's your job? How's the car? Do you miss me? But I was thinking, she could. It's a contract we tacitly draw up sometimes. A person blanks you, and you know they're doing, and they know you know. You can decide. You can force it out into the open by doing a huge fake "is that you? It's been so long" smile and oh gimme a hug. Or you can sign the contract: I will pretend I didn't see you either. I couldn't tell you anything about her labia. Memory is strange that way. It was strange though because of course I knew it wasn't her as soon as I took a second look. But I still got to thinking. The way people come and go, take something they want or need and pass on, sometimes flare, sometimes just flicker, then fade away until they are dead to you; some cannot -- you will grab the last straw of memory of them and hold it firm, but most are faces one day, silhouettes the next, until they are just names, then names you think you heard once, but now, who remembers? *** I remember her name too, and the town she came from. I remember more than I remember before I start remembering. I remember a journey we took together, a serious talk we had in the library, a letter, her legs, her shoulders, what she was studying, that she thought she might become a teacher. I remember that we held hands in the park and it was that kind of rain, it's not falling so much as just there, fine and slow and deep, and cold enough for a scarf. Evening. I don't know whether there is besides us another soul in the park; it is dark enough not to know. That is all. What else could there be?

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