I want to remember this place, but I don’t.
I am told the memories:
This is where your grandparents lived
This was your house
This is where dad worked
This is where your brother went to school
This was where mom and dad hung out
See that house? That one, there.
I don’t remember any of it.
I feel as if I’m returning to my roots.
I drive down main street Arbutus in the middle of the night
Trying to make out the shapes of the houses in the dark
This was where I became a thought, a fragment,
An ultrasound image in a frame… It all started here.
And I have no memory of this place.
And yet I live here now,
While those who hold the memories have gone on and moved away
To open spaces by the Rocky Mountains
Or mansion rooms by streets of gold.
And I am here to gather the threads of their memories…
My dad loved to be back here, I think, because he liked the good memories of his early times with my mom, before she got sick.
But I have no memories of these places. The majority of the time I had with my mom was spent in South Carolina, and I haven’t been back there in almost five years.
But here is what I do remember:
Walking along the beach with her,
That cramped feeling in my neck after hours of sharks-teeth hunting
The sun rising over the Atlantic
And setting over the Pacific (after we moved)
Laying on our backs in the parking lot of our condo complex,
Studying the sky for one of my school projects.
See that star? That one, there.
That house I remember.
And our townhouse. And the pools.
The surprise party she threw for me.
There are countless other memories I’ve made that she has no part in,
Places I can go to now that remind me of seasons long after she’d gone
Even my memories of her hometown have nothing to do with her
Because I’m making them now, with new people.
I am a new person, or at least I am older now.
I have ten years of memories without her presence.
And yet, she is always present. Evermind.
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