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Hey, I remember you.   —   Personal

When do we stop revisiting our past? In memory, in reflection, sometimes in the flesh. When are we released and free of everything we've ever loved, or hated.

Is it only in death?

Walking down the street a man passes me wearing cologne. It's the same cologne an ex boyfriend used to wear and suddenly I'm thrust into the memory of him and our time together. Details that I would have never recalled come crashing to the surface and I feel as though I was only just there a moment ago.

I receive a card in the mail from my mother and the stationary smells like her skin. Suddenly I'm a teenager again taking naps on her pillow after school and burying my face into the lingering scent of her hair, turning from the cool breeze coming through her bedroom window, on its tips it carries the taste of pine tree.

Lighting a newly purchased candle I walk away only to return to a room filled with the scent that smelled like my father’s workroom. Suddenly I remember everything about him, the smell of his deodorant, how if I sat in his recliner I could catch hints in the air of gun oil and metal and his smoked pipe, the conversations we would have in the kitchen while he cooked and I sat on the countertop, our inside jokes, how he looked in his workroom hunched over an old fashion gun he was building, under a bright light and with his glasses on.

Sometimes there is no trigger that sets off a memory, no scent or sight or train of thought. It just appears before my eyes in a flash and then for that moment I'm there again, living that life I had so long ago. And when it passes I feel a great sense of loss. I mourn the people who I no longer know and the ones whose relationships are only maintained through the telephone and the occasional email. I mourn the individual that I used to be, the girl who grew up, the ignorance lost.

A moment ago I was working in Excel. I was typing in a formula to calculate exchange rate differences and suddenly I was back in Flint in the house I shared with another ex-boyfriend. I saw the kitchen and how it was always dark and rarely used, my bedroom which I had painted a robin egg blue, the windows that looked out onto the street that always seemed to be bathed in sunlight even at dusk, and the bathroom that always smelled like his shaving cream.

It was eight years ago and I was just there a moment ago, only for a second.

Maybe it's a tumor.

Posted 7.7.2004

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