Those memories we keep locked
I say in my welcome bit at the top of the page about the difference between always remembering and never forgetting. There is a difference there, and it’s an important one. In memory, I find, the past is kept alive, and if you have a good memory like mine then when you think of the past it’s not some distant, blurry thought, it’s a crystal clear image, right there in front of your eyes, almost like virtual reality, like you could reach out to it but inevitably never reach it. That’s a good thing some of the time, but then the rest of the time, the times when you just can’t forget, it’s not so good.
Because there are those memories that are so bad, or, in my case, so good, that you try so hard to keep them locked up, to keep them hidden, because you know as soon as you remember, and you always remember because you can never forget, as soon as that happens it’s all there right in front of you. The past. Your own history. Taunting you.
I mention this because it happened to me last night. Everyone knows (or everyone should know,) that I’m constantly mooing about my uni days, and in a way that book is so open there’s no hope of locking that and trying to keep it shut. That box is open and its contents are overflowing! But there is another memory that I try very hard to keep locked because I really can’t bare to look back on it and see and feel what I had and what I’ve now lost. For whatever reason though, I unlocked it last night, and it was bad. I’m talking about my six months of “adult” living in Chiswick, with Andrew. That summer just gone, that really was a summer. And I miss it all, terribly. I miss the place, I miss my “best” glasses, I miss the rusted metal stairs, I miss the tiny pet shop I’d go to like every day, I miss Chiswick House and Grounds, a truly beautiful place. I miss hammersmith, it was just ghetto enough for me to feel sort of all londony and cool, but it was still safe. I miss the posh garden centre in ravenscourt park. But more than any of physical things, I just miss the ideas, the thoughts and feelings – the way that place and that time made me feel.
And last night I opened that memory and the whole thing, the whole six months surged like a raging river through my brain. All of it, I saw and remembered and experienced all of it again in the space of a few minutes. Snapshots of feelings and sounds and smells, yes, smells even. The last day we were there, I had to go to work early. I left that place and walked along the road to the tube station and I didn’t look back, not once. Not even on the tube did I look back. No, I decided, no looking back this time. I’ve done too much looking back with uni, so much it kills me. I won’t do that again. The problem is now that if I do dare to look back (and inevitably I do and I will because I can’t keep it supressed,) it all comes back like a flood, all at once like a stabbing pain.
I know I shouldn’t be so self-involved. Everyone goes through this right? Everyone has things like this. I think some people have the luxury of having poor memories, they can just let things slip from their minds. Little details. Odd little moments. I never can. But then I think maybe that’s their way of dealing with it. Just forget, if you can.
But, to use a Doctor Who quote (as I so frequently like to do,) “Everything has to end, otherwise nothing would start.” And that’s very true. I miss those six months, so much. The times me and Andrew had, those times were brilliant. But I know that there will be more times ahead, in the future. And in time the memories that overload me now will be gentle and soft. Everyone must have memories locked, something secret and silly you don’t tell anyone about but that actually meant the world to you and now is gone or over. And like a wound needs a bandage, they need to be covered. But in time, they’ll heal, I know it. I’ll always remember them, and I know one day I’ll never want to forget.