Vignettes

It is strange, the way we remember the past. It is never one smooth sequence of events from our first memory to our latest. I think that’s too much for us to handle. Maybe they do exist somewhere in our brain, but as scientists like to say, we are only using 5% (10? Whatever) of our brain.

So what really happens is that we remember snippets of our past. Tiny events that we play over and over in our head each time we reminisce. Pouring water down from the 4th floor to watch the bubbles split. Sometimes they are things we do many times, so much so that what we remember isn’t one single instance of it, but a mash of all the different times we did it. What we end up with then is a nebulous image that is both familiar and vaguely inaccurate at the same time, and when we try to pin down the details, they elude us. Eating the hot-pressed ham and cheese toast in the morning when the sky was a still a dark blue, back when all of us were still in school. It was the best.

It is almost frustrating how we cannot seem to remember beyond these vignettes of past times. And so we try to add value and weight to them. We attach emotions and meanings, as we try to condense all of our past into these few images. I wonder what that does to our memories, when we collapse entire years into words exchanged amidst tears in the silence of a night. This was when it all went downhill. It was the worst. I wonder if they become skewed and painted, so as to suit what we prefer to think of our past. It wasn’t all my fault. But the emotion always stays. Despite all the twists and tricks of memory, the heart always remembers. Her hands trembling in mine, her tears on her face. Pain, guilt, joy, love, hate; the emotions are almost always nearly as poignant, if a little tempered. And maybe in the end, that is why we remember. Maybe that’s all we need to remember.

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