Saturday, May 26, 2012

dust motes

It is not that the attics were forbidden to us, not in so many words. But the attics were the most foreign and mysterious place I'd ever been, for we had three of them at our house, and no cellar at all, and the attics were full of all of the parts of us that we couldn't recognize but were told were our memories. As a child I believed that my memories were sacrosanct, that everything held suspended in formaldehyde in glass jars, where I could not just play back the memory of a perfect score on a test or the death of a dog or the arrival of a new kitten. Instead the memories were still and always alive, just there, and at any moment I could step sideways and be in the memory and it was all as clear and sharp as on the day it happened.

The attics challenged this notion of memories held in suspended animation, for they were full to overflowing with things I was supposed to recognize as belonging to myself, yet everything was all wrong. It was the wrong shape, the wrong color, the wrong size, the wrong item altogether, so it must be somebody else's past, some other accidental life living in this space that I wasn't forbidden from but wasn't really supposed to be in, this maze of memories held by someone who wasn't me. That summer I hid in the attics for hours, determined to find the person responsible for all these items, the mysterious suitcases and animal cages and nightgowns and musical instruments and aquariums and strollers and chairs.

-----------------
reading about relativity
weather : the scent of peonies, all about