and I were talking about memory the other day, how it works to recreate and soften or intensify emotional association with an event that occurred. We didn't come to any grand conclusions or anything like that, it was just talk.
But it's that time of the year when you start thinking "How did I get here from there?" because most people just don't wind up where they planned or thought they would be. Truth is, at 17, I had no idea or plans. At 18, any plans I may have had were shattered. Friendships I thought would last forever turned out to be a lot more mortal then I ever imagined, and I made a pretty complete break. I wound up dropping out of society for while. The memories are hazy at best, exactly when everything changed, and turned around. I keep track by big events I remember fairly clearly. I was just shy of 17 when I met ... well.. never mind. Point is, I can sometimes almost see that other path, the other choices I could have made.
I had an offline message from someone I knew 20 years ago, wishing me good holidays, a happy 2009, and just to tell me he loved me.
I remembered when hearing that from him would have been all I wanted in the world. When I broke up with him, and spent a week crying and reconsidering, wishing things could be different. Typical teenage drama and puppy love. At the time, it felt pretty real and like it would matter always.
While I was in the middle of trying to sort those scrambled memories again, I got an email from Kim, just a short note. "Why are you still awake? Want to get together for coffee soon? I love you." The memories don't matter as much now, how I got here from there. Because I like it here.
Part of the problem is someone on myspace, an old high school buddy, who has had time soften and mythify his memories. He's created a mythology of that time that makes a lot closer than we were, and made it all a lot more pleasant then it was. I'm sure the truth is somewhere between my memories of a hellish ordeal of shifting loyalties, manipulations, gossip and politics worthy of a grand Prom National Convention, and his happy misty memories of everyone getting along, and me being some sort of leader who helped mix groups that normally wouldn't meet (yeah, that's pretty close to a quote. YECH.)He needs to follow someone or something, he's become an evangelical, and doesn't really understand why I wouldn't want to renew our friendship. 20 years between then and now, and he didn't know me well then. To be fair, only one person I went to hs with did actually know more than just the social face, and we can't be friends because there is so much history. Oh yeah, and the story he wrote. That comes between us too.
Right this minute, I'm very glad we are only traveling through time in one direction, and I'm glad that memory is such an inaccurate thing to go the other direction with.
And hey! I get to go have coffee with Kim, and we can talk about memory, music and men.