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the memory keeper’s wife.

April 7, 2010

i forget
almost everything.
and what i do remember-
is largely unreliable.
i might splice memories together
and hold onto that memory ferociously
though it never really happened that way-
it was different days, different years, different people.

the only way
i trust a memory of mine
is if i recorded it
within days of it’s occurrence.

you can imagine, maybe,
how frustrating it must be
to be married then
to someone like me.

a lot of conversations go like this-
he: “we talked about this, remember?”
me: squinty eyes, scrunched nose, blank brain.
he: “remember when we…(scenario)”
me: dumbfounded stare.

only add a lot more emotion to those interchanges because
1. sometimes it’s about something important.
2. even worse: as often as not, my response to an idea
that i’ve already heard and forgotten, might be the exact opposite
of the first time i heard it, and vehemently so, with no recollection
of every feeling differently.

can you imagine?

now i read
that memory and personality
are both located in the frontal lobe area of the brain.
which happens to be where my migraine pain is centralized.
and if theorists are correct that migraine attacks leave damage-
well, that might explain some things.

the pillow case people.

i didn’t actually want to talk about any of that.
but it felt like a necessary preface because
i want to talk about
a memory.

in seventh grade
we had a hip new
history and english teacher
named mr. reimer.
( i searched my brain for an hour for his name,
because i knew that fact was in there somewhere-
older facts, are often easier to find than new ones.)

i’m fairly sure he was only there that one year-
i think we might have
aggravated him because we were 12 and 13
and he was fresh out of college.

i don’t know that i personally added
to his aggravation though,
because i was pretty into school.

anyway, all of this is background.

in his class, in some sort of free-reading exercise-
i met anorexia nervosa, in a novel.
this was long before me being anorexic was a blip on any radar,
least of all, my own.  in fact, when i picked the book,
by reading the back-flap-blurb,
and even after reading it
i remember thinking what a super sad, weird, psychosis it all seemed.

i can’t remember the name of the book, or the author.
i searched my brain and amazon, pretty sure it might be
second star to the right by deborah hautzig.
i think the girl had jewish background and lived in new york.
and once she wanted a piece of marzipan really bad
and she ate it and then the guilt was overwhelming.
(i had no idea what marzipan was, and couldn’t fathom
what the big freaking deal was, even though i believed her that it was.)

by the time i would know exactly what that felt like,
i would have temporarily forgotten all about the book.

the real thing about it all-
that has nothing to do with eating
like you might be suspecting
is this-
this girl had always had this imaginary world
where she believed that there were pillow elves,
or something that would take care of her,
(i forget exactly)
but she would always face
her pillow so that the case was open to the outside
as opposed to the wall.
so that the pillow people would know they were invited.

but then in the throes of anorexia
when she doesn’t want to let anyone in
she just wants to be alone with her control-
she turns the pillow around and closes the case
in a defiant gesture.

i don’t believe in pillow elves,
but for some reason ever since i read that book,
my pillow case must be open to the outside of the bed.
like i want to say, “i’m open, i’m not shutting people out.”

how can that be the thing that i don’t forget?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 8, 2010 01:38

    Justin here: I’m so confused, not sure I followed this post… help me!

  2. kelleyann permalink
    April 8, 2010 16:55

    We read Davita’s Harp. Could that have been it?

  3. michelle permalink
    April 9, 2010 13:52

    maybe your memory
    is just selective.

    i learned about this the other day in
    my theories of personalities class.

    them pillow-cases.

  4. April 10, 2010 11:53

    i get it.

  5. April 12, 2010 14:07

    glad you got it.
    because if it isn’t gotten as is-
    i don’t know how to say more.

  6. Bryan Hege permalink
    April 15, 2010 12:24

    You’re crazy, but in a good way (obviously).

  7. marmy permalink
    May 4, 2010 19:13

    i love you. please keep writing.

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