Tag Archives: memories

Forward, forward, forward

Some things never change. Those things don’t exist in New York.

I walk down Columbus Avenue with the dog pulling against the leash, racing past drunks and couples and the old man who lives downstairs. We blow through the intersection, the dog frantic now, practically sprinting forward and forward and forward through the city. We get to the pet store, and she tries to go in. It’s one in the morning, I tell her. It’s not open. She wags her tail, an act of naïveté or defiance.

(Three years ago I ran down Avenue A drunk and bewildered and reaching out for everything and anything and waiting for someone to watch me fall. By the time I hit 8th Street, he was there, of course. I was running to him in some sped-up tragicomedic scene playing out in the movie of my head.)

The wind picks up and the dog’s ears blow back slightly. She whines and paws at the pet store. I gently tug at her, and then use a bit more force to try and yank her away.

The kids at the bar smile. They are outside, waving around cigarettes and hunting down cabs. One of them approaches the dog, already on his knees. She ignores him, desperate to go inside the pet store. The guy could be my age, but from the crowd at the bar, I assume he’s younger. His jeans are tight and torn. He pets the dog’s head and scrambles away, his cigarette stuck against his bottom lip, his tail between his legs. The dog looks away.

We begin the slow walk home, across the avenue, to our apartment. She will eventually lie down on the corner of my bed, her head pressed up against my ankles, the same happy-sad expression on her soft, sleeping face.

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Polarized

You were my anchor. Or something heavy. Like carbon diamonds. Like solid gold handcuffs and the roots of a tree. The roundness of the earth, and the weight of the sky. You were muscle. You were the heaviest bone, the spine of a book. I locked you in a cabinet of memories and vodka shots. I stole photographs of you. Like road maps. Like bullets. Like astronomy lessons from the ancients. Like the time I watched you watch yourself in the mirror, polarized by the elements and charged like a magnet.

Things I Found Before The Storm

Pictures of you in a hat sat on my desk for hours
before someone decided to turn the power off
in the city and let the juice drain out of the building

I think he thinks that I
confuse memories with imagination

like I confuse the Internet with electricity
and the steam out of the radiator with thunderstorms
and the hot hiss of the rain on the pavement

I traced my hands around the corners down
the absolute hallway the edges
developing under my fingertips like film

Because he remembers ideas and
I remember everything

You took five pictures that night
four in a row, the last in a hat
the red blush of the night behind you.

They look up, not out.

“Remember when we peed on Kaufman’s car?” asks Steve.

“Of course I do. It never gets old. Except Kaufman did, and now he’s married.”

“Shut up,” Kaufman tells us. He’s smiling.

Graham is quiet but laughs silently. He looks taller, if that’s possible. All three—Kaufman, Steve and Graham—are over six two. Mike, who is five eleven at best, sighs contently.

We sit in the circle and look at the stars. They look out, not up, as Mike said once. We all remember.

We inhale in and exhale out and watch our breath evaporate into the hair.

“Remember how pissed Kaufman got?” asks Steve.

“Shut up,” says Kaufman.

“What about when L threw up in the woods over there?” asks Mike.

“Oh god,” I say.

“When did L throw up?” asks Steve.

“She threw up on Brian Leher’s dick.”

“Oh yeah…” says Steve.

Graham laughs silently.

“That night was terrible,” continues Mike. “And I think Brian filmed it all.”

“Oh god,” I repeat.

“What about that time with Kassi and Dana?”

“Old school.” We dismiss things easily.

“What about that time with Ghostbusters?”

“Ancient history.”

“Well I think it was awesome.”

“Were the stars this bright?” I ask, suddenly.

“When,” asks Graham, “in high school?”

“No, that night we peed on Kaufman’s car.”

We all snicker, even Kaufman. It was a long time ago, and anyway, no one was around to film it.

But not Forgot-Ten

“Remember Graham’s party?” I ask.

“Yes,” he says, and sips his beer.

“Was that the one after prom?”

“No. It wasn’t after prom because my parents wouldn’t let me sleep over.”

“Oh,” I say.

“It must have been that spring. I think you had on a tank top.”

I laugh.

“And you kept asking if I was gay.”

“I don’t remember that,” I say, “but it sounds like something I would have done when I was that age.” I’m not proud, but I’m honest.

“It worked.”

“We were on the stairs.”

“Yes,” I remember. “Graham’s stairs.”

He wipes some of the condensation off the pint glass.

I look at his hands on his beer. “Was it nice? Do you remember?”

“I think so,” he says. “It was ten years ago.”

Thunderbolts

Thunderstorms are not romantic in Manhattan–not the way they should be. There are too many people peering out their windows and cowering in the subway stations waiting for the sheets of rain to pass. No chance of losing electricity in the city, no chance of being stranded with only a few candles, a flashlights, and a deck of cards.

When lightening strikes, I like to be alone. Or I like to be nearly alone.

When I was a child, the early evening thunderstorms rolled through my summer camp in August. My friend and I lied down and let the rain fall on us, hitting the hot blacktop and fizzling against our skin.

We grew into awkward teenage counselors and, hearing thunder, ushered the kids into the bunks and shut the doors. We would sit on the porch, the rain beating down on the soft, worn wood ramps, the screams of girls on one side and boys on the other. We let out hands dangle over the side and catch heavy raindrops in cupped palms. With the kids safely behind doors, we sat closer together, smelling one another’s sunblock and chlorine-washed skin as if for the first time. The thunder cracked like a whip, like a warning.

Outside my sophomore year dorm, my then boyfriend and I remained firmly planted in the pavement courtyard smiling like doped up animals. We grabbed shampoo, let it pour, and washed each others hair.

In June, Jon and I ran through Brooklyn while it stormed, huge bolts lighting up the sky and terrifying me. We collapsed on his bed and watched in horror as water flooded through the air conditioner in his window.

Last night I sat in my bed with the lights off staring out the window. The fog rolled over the skyline, taking the Empire State Building with it, and broke when it began to thunder.

I was completely alone, but I’m not sure I wanted to be anymore.

Borne Back Ceaselessly into the Past

I am on Facebook. I am searching through photos of old friends, old lovers, old colleagues. I am reading detailed summaries of people who should be buried in my past.

It is the end of 2008, and I have over 800 documented friends. The word itself has been entirely stripped of any meaning.

memories-brainThe collection of evidence is emotionally splintering. It is not natural to collect intimate knowledge of the hundreds or thousands of humans we come in contact with. Mankind survived an entire existence of letting the past be past– it is how we evolved. I wonder what the repercussions of the myriad information will be on our psychological development. I wonder where this will take us as a species.

We were once allowed to build memories and purposely enact our favorite verb: to forget.

I stay on Facebook because it wouldn’t make a difference if I cut myself off. You can’t cut yourself off in New York. It doesn’t matter if I’m a part of it or not: everyone has access to everyone else now, and we all desperately want to know one anothers secrets.

And I feel terrible, just terrible, wanting them.