>When you see the things I see, do you remember me like I remember you?
Read that somewhere on the same day that I realised that memories aren’t the same for two people inhabiting the same world. And it hurts when the beautiful memories you have of a time mean nothing to those people who feature in them.
My sister and I should have the same things to share about our childhood – things we did together should be as much a part of her memories as they are of mine. But she remembers none of those. And says I make them up half the time, because it’s too far back. She doesn’t remember that I used to make up stories to tell her at night and she would invariably fall asleep before I finished them. She says she was never interested in what haircut I had as a child when I always thought I had short hair (almost) all my childhood because my elder siblings thought I looked cute like that. She doesn’t remember us having the good times. And it hurts. Because I have no childhood if she refuses to concede anything that I remember from back then. What do I do with those memories which don’t exist without her? It means the childhood I’ve been reconstructing is just an imaginary world, that it’s not for real.
But how can she help it? She must have a different set of memories of her childhood. Memories in which I feature, maybe, but not in the same light as I feature in mine. The past is just a reconstruction of our minds, then. What’s there to tell the difference between fact and imagination? What’s there to say that my memory is real and her’s is not? What’s in the past becomes all intangible. It might as well not have happened at all.
And anyway, I remember a lot of things that others don’t – I have a good memory, people say. But I don’t enjoy it. I don’t like remembering things that others don’t remember. I don’t also like remembering people and their names and their contexts in my life when they’ve forgotten it all. It is so convenient to forget. But I remember. As a student, it was great. At work, it’s great. But otherwise, it’s just so much excess info that I’m lugging around with me. I want to forget, not because it’s unnecessary – it used to be considered nice to remember people’s names – but because it’s probably unfashionable (?) now…