Meaning of Memory

by christycelia

On the night of the full moon, we walked. I still hadn’t found the right shoes for this part of my life, but I decided to go on walking nonetheless. Sometimes that’s the only way to go around. We passed houses that were quiet, which was odd for such a night, because in a city where blocks and blocks and miles and miles of road where residences – a park squeezed in here or there, one would think of hustle and bustle. But on the night of the full moon, quiet.

Nearly five years from now, there will be nothing. By nothing I don’t mean that these houses and bodies and streets wont carry on. But I will have left. So nothing there will be. As we walked along, I remembered the nothingness, and muttered the thought aloud. Aria spun her head towards me and inquired as to “what I was babbling about.”

“Do you know, when you leave something, when you walk away and never return , it cannot go on. It must become a lack thereof.”

“What are you talking about?” Aria stopped. “Just because you move away doesn’t mean the world ceases to exist in your previous home; your previous life.”

A humming noise began in the back of my mind. “I don’t mean that it will be destroyed. I mean that the mind is an isolated thing. Only living within your skull, only knowing and seeing your surroundings. Imagining all else.”

“And your memories? What of that? What of the last twenty years you have spent in this place.” Aria rubbed her hands on her face. The moon was fully risen then, and yet we will couldn’t see which way to go.

“A memory is a memory. Like a memorial. Like remember. Like memorizing, as in multiplication fact. If I asked you what we ate for dinner last night, I would say rice. What would you say?”

“Vegetables. Steamed broccoli, and carrots and onions. See. It’s real in my mind, I can smell it, I can taste it –”

“You have a fantastic imagination.” The humming grew louder, and moved from the spot where my head met my neck to the sides of my brain. Buzzing in the hair follicles. She snorted, and signed all at once. She did this when she was angry, or growing angrier. We stopped at a T in the road, and yet, there were fifty other ways to go besides left or right. She turned to me.

“Are you saying that everything that has happened to you means nothing but imagination and fantasy? And that everything you have learned is simply a way for you to deal with what is happening now – right now?”

“Yes. And I do not mean to be selfish, and when I’m experiencing the now – the right now like we are, me and you and this city, together right now. It isn’t lost on me.”

She started walking again. Away from me. Intentionally unfollowable. And yet I followed.

“What is the mind to you?” I asked of her. “What does this mean, all of this? This transitory life and relationship and city and –”

She stopped. The temperature had reached a perfect point for breathing deeply. In, cold. Out, warm. My whole brain felt the hum now. I floated on.

Aria turned around and looked at me, squinting as if to find more humanity than she knew existed. There was no reflection.