memory is such a fleeting thing

“I don’t remember when I woke up. Was it an hour ago? Two hours? No, the sun is up too high in the sky…It must be around noon at least. Where has the time gone? I don’t remember when I woke up.

I find myself at the table with my family. I don’t quite remember how I got there, but I’m so glad I did. We are about to have Sunday brunch like we always do, and it feels like forever since I have seen my wife and two children. I haven’t noticed it before, but it seems as though the years are beginning to show on my wife’s face. Although she is still beautiful as ever, her wrinkles have increased and her hair has paled – maybe something is worrying her these days. I’ll have to ask later. I look towards Jenna, my oldest, and ask her how school is going for her. She looks at me with a quizzical look on her face, saying that I asked her that already! Silly girl, she must be having one of her temperamental mood swings. After all, she is a 14 year old girl, and they have enough troubles with makeup, boys, and whatever else pre-adolescent girls do these days. I will just steer clear of her way today, lest I have her using me as a stress outlet. Jacob, my son, asks at that point if he can go out and play football with his friends. My wife, Anna, interjects and tells him that we need to get ready for church, and that’s that. She says she doesn’t understand how many times she has to tell him in one morning. Funny, I don’t recall Jacob asking before, but I naturally assume Jacob approached Anna with this topic before.

Did I eat today? I don’t believe I remember eating anything, yet I feel full. My dear wife Anna comes down to the kitchen and asks me if I’m coming to bed. She is still as beautiful as ever, but it seems as though the years are beginning to show on my wife’s face…wait, coming to bed? Is it that time already? She yawns yes tiredly, saying that she is tired from a full day at church. Church? When did we go to church? Anna gives me a concerned look and says that I’ve been very off today. Ha, I don’t even remember what I did today. Nonetheless, she proceeds to take me by the hand towards our room. I guess I do feel a little tired.

Anna needed the car today, so she dropped me and Jenna off at the school today. I guess today is bring-your-daughter-to-work-day; I can’t remember the last time Jenna followed me to one of those. I reached down to hold Jenna’s hand as we walk. As soon as I did, Jenna jumped back and gave me a paralyzing glare. “Are you trying to embarrass me? It’s bad enough having to go to the high school you work at,” she venomously whispered. She promptly ran into the building, leaving me shocked, confused, and at a loss for words. I suppose Jenna has been getting older, but to talk to me like that? I hoped she did wouldn’t get lost in the high school, but I had to get ready for my first class of the day.

I feel like a stranger at my own school. I don’t know half of the faculty here anymore. Since when did we hire so many new people? The only thing familiar is my office; I’ve had it since I started my teaching career here at this high school. At that moment, Wesley, my star pupil in my afternoon psychology class, comes in to tell me that I’m late to my first class!  When I ask him how he knows my schedule, he tells me that he is my teaching assistant: “Don’t you remember? I graduated a couple years ago, and now I’m at a teaching academy.” Utterly confused, I ask Wesley to take me to the class. During my walk, I notice something distinctly different about the school, although I’m not quite sure what it is. Upon entering the classroom, however, I realize that I don’t recognize any of my students. Something is definitely wrong.

I’m in a white room that looks like the nurse’s office at my school. I see my wife Anna coming in; she is still as beautiful as ever, but it seems as though the years are beginning to show on my wife’s face. She seems particularly concerned today though. Her eyes look a bit teary, but before I can ask what’s wrong, a man in a white coat also steps into the room. Where am I? Have I been sleeping? I don’t remember when I woke up. Was it an hour ago? Two hours?”

******************

What would it be like to be amnesic? And not any kind of amnesic; someone who can keep their old memories but not able to form new ones. What’s familiar might remain the same to you, but it could change for everyone else. It’s like being a prisoner of your own mind. Even time becomes irrelevant simply because there is no future and only a fringe of the present. You basically have to live in the past. And not just any past: your past. I would hate to be like this, but would I even know it? Would I even be able to feel sorry for myself? I don’t know. The brain is still a mystery to us all.

Memory is a fleeting thing. But if I were to become like this, I would hope to have a lot of good memories to fall back upon. Something I’ve learned these past couple of years is that the past is something you can’t change. That’s why we can’t give up and need to better ourselves continuously, even when times are hard. A life full of regret would be a painful thing.

Still, we should be thankful for the memories we do have. Getting lost in nostalgic thoughts about the good times is sometimes the only thing keeping me from going crazy 🙂

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