What Would You Do?

What would you do if you had no memory at all? Would you still live a life of regret?

Due to the past events in my life I find it hard to access certain parts of my memory. Instead of images like a movie screen I see only a smattering of dots in the sky. Not quite stars but close, a pinprick of memories that I can only make out if I squint hard enough and try to remember. I feel that this is the only way I can see certain parts of my life.

Memory is an interesting thing. The Greeks valued it for memorizing The Odyssey; today’s modern day warriors do the same with decks of cards or digits of pi. Memory can take us places but it can also bring regret, pain, and sorrow. Memory is cruel and it is kind; it is sentimental all the way through.

And so if you had no memory, what would you do? Would you still live a life of regret?

That question haunts me because I don’t know the answer. I feel that on one hand, you wouldn’t live a life of regret because you would have nothing to look back on to be sad about. But on the other hand, if you were incapable of living in the present, you might still have regrets in micro-moments as you make a choice that you did not want to make. To take an action that you didn’t want to take and to pick up something that you didn’t want to pick up.

Memory is cruel — I’ll say that again. Memory, left unchecked, can turn to trauma in some cases. Memory, left unchecked, can turn to love. It can also be the birthplace of the most wonderful things that you haven’t even realized or seen yet, that you haven’t even imagined yet.

If given the choice, would I choose to live with memory, to have more of it? Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t know if I ever do want any more of everything; maybe everything is already in the right amounts in which it is in this weird universe that we all live in. Or maybe it is the right amount because I force it to be.

I don’t know.

I’d like to think that we can live our life in the right amounts. I’ve been learning that when people don’t necessarily want to engage with me, it’s not because they are being rude or disrespectful, but it’s because they don’t want that right now. It’s a little harder to wrap my head around the fact that it isn’t a judgment on me, but I know this to be the case, too. I hope. Maybe I’ll also understand that naturally someday, as naturally as the shine shines.

Midnight
Not a sound from the pavement
Has the moon lost her memory?
She is smiling alone
In the lamplight, the withered leaves collect at my feet
And the wind begins to moan
Memory
All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again
Every streetlamp seems to beat a fatalistic warning
Someone mutters, and a streetlamp gutters,
And soon it will be morning.
Daylight
I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I mustn’t give in.
When the dawn comes, tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin
Burnt out ends of smokey days
The stale cold smell of morning
The streetlamp dies, another night is over
Another day is dawning…
Touch me!
It’s so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun…
If you touch me, you’ll understand what happiness is
Look, a new day
Has begun

Photo by Zoltan Tasi

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