Sometimes we can’t forget.
Timid fingers tapped the keys at a slower pace than when they were free of anxiety’s constraint. The letters and numbers, slashes, commas and dashes got lost, falling over one another and the mess was horrible. It felt like I was assembling words on the side of a refrigerator with all those many-colored plastic letters that have the magnets pressed into their backs. It wasn’t really that bad, but when things were going wrong and too fast, it was unsettling, and the things looked afright. I’m sure my letters would get fat and turn colors, too, if I closed my eyes and rubbed them hard enough. Not something I need to do when the beep keeps going off. Not something I need to do when it may be the sobbing mother who is calling to tell me that her son just killed himself, or when the one son calls from the neighbor’s house to say that a father is fighting with his two sons and he had a knife until the one son took it away from him.
The call from the mom, while unnerving and sobering, also served as something resembling instruction. I kept the line open as she talked to the other city’s 9-1-1 operator and I had my first opportunity to partake of that particular brand of sorrow. It wasn’t hysteria, but the sobs and agony came from the deeper regions of her heart. The other operator asked her how she knew he killed himself and she answered that he told her that he was going to, and then the gun went off, and then silence. I don’t know if the line went dead, I don’t know if someone hung it up for him, I don’t know anything like that. I do know, however, that this woman had never been touched like she was this afternoon. She told us later in the call that her husband had killed himself years ago, but even so, today was different. This was her remaining loved one. This was the baby she might have nursed, and held, and nurtured, and loved for so many years. Nobody saw the sun reflect in his eyes the way she did and no one’s heart quaked the way hers did when he came running to her one of those days in those many years ago with tears streaming down his face with whatever unknown sorrow. Today was Mommy in anguish, having heard the unthinkable, and with such finality. How does one console a Mommy? How?
And then…call-waiting on the cell phone beeped in her ear…and it was her son, alive and unharmed. I hung-up at hearing this and sat there, dumbfounded. And rage, was there rage?
Thoughts swirl like sifted sand in the wind, taking flight and then stinging as they alight on sensitive skin, thrust with daggers’ force, piercing beneath the protective mask; through the guise donned for defense, my soul rent.
And the pieces of a moment collide with their stronger and weaker members and become one solitary catch in the round of time. The space between the parts of this individual can expand to encompass all thought and eternity. They already have and do. The part of the instance that comes before full realization, understanding, or acceptance came after an equal instance of ignorance, disbelief, or non-understanding and is followed by the later part or piece of the whole moment that is sweet, or haunting, or anything between the myriad selves.
The points meet, and cross, and bend, and blend, and become one within their many convoluted selves. They are thoughts and they know no boundaries, and they bleed into one perpetual, eternal thought; the twisting and upbraiding, reflecting, and re-announcing of their sundry selves; constant recriminations, judgments, appraisals, and evaluations. They depart from one another and then rekindle at the thoughts of their absence from one another. They re-kindred themselves with their many offspring and related trains and inklings of thought. Finally harbored, anchored, and re-opened, like cases of misplaced stowage from some dis-remembered stronghold, with trepidation they are opened, for we have forgotten their contents; we have intentionally misplaced the packing lists and are amazed in terror at the findings when they are revealed.
What more have we than the things that have bred in our minds after our long existences, after the many lives that we have lived in this one lifetime, and what more can we expect from ourselves? Many secrets, and how oft revealed? How do we find ourselves in those secreted fields, those long unturned acres of hidden thoughts and happenings? We are but lonely. We are so very isolated in the thoughts for they must remain hidden; they must remain ours alone, for what damage may ensue at their unveiling? What is lonely like there, inside those darkened corridors of our thoughts? Is it enough to drive us to a snapping, crazy, psychotic unburdening in a rage of shouted words and incoherent ramblings? Do we go stir-crazy in our own self-reflection, having sequestered ourselves for so long inside the caverns of our own construction and device? Do our hidden solitary and several selves meet anew in those reflections and remembrances of things lived and done? Do they question and validate and curse again the disparate happenings and thoughts and things that made them what and who they are, things marked alone and troubled sore?
And then to remember…how does it happen? How does the circuitry respond to the stimuli and recapture the images that were sealed in their compartments and grottoes and then revivify them into the hybridizations of valid recurrences of what once was? How are they tainted with the non-truths that permeate their warped selves? Our guilt, and desires, and wishes, and sorrows, and unfulfilled yearnings so misconstrue the pictures that it would be nigh unto impossible to see the events as they really happened. Then we mix with our own perceived recollections, the stories and memories of the other participants or on-lookers with their biases, and convictions, and wishes, and unlived dreams…and there will never be truth in the vivid snapshots that we think we remember storing away in the albums of our minds.