Thursday, 9 June 2016


Nobody of my acquaintance knows me as I was then, in those youthful formative years. A large chunk of time lost, not yet to myself, but there's little point in remembering when there's nobody to reminisce with or correct me. You can regale strangers with stories, but it's not the same as turning to someone and saying “Do you remember when... or that time...”
Of course, each generation has a collective memory - we live through and share the same times: the same trends, the same happenings the same youthful bubble, but still only some of these will echo, strike an everlasting chord after that moment has long passed.
When I speak of 'lost' friends, I don't mean lost as in dead as that might have once meant through illness or wars, but to some extent they might as well be buried. I don't feel their loss or their lack of presence – I never have – but I miss the concreteness they could provide to my remembrances. Did I really exist in that time? Was it all a lie, an elaborate falsehood I created which I made so real that I convinced myself of its truths?
Some would say that's exactly what life is.
In having no familiars from that time to verify I only have myself and, possibly, my distorted memories to rely on. How can I be sure the evidence I give or provide myself with is reliable? Perhaps none of us ever really are. Sure, that is.
It's strange to feel a part of you has been obliterated, and not just in your mind but in others too. Some of the faces you remember may not remember you at all as you made no lasting impression whereas you might have been a keen observer; a archivist of details: names, school plays, sports days, lunch time jaunts, and holidays. Some moments pass us by, some moments we cling onto, or try to, with or without assistance. And then, of course, we all recall things differently, in the same way that we can disagree on the colour of a shirt or dress. Even couples argue over trivial points when they were both somewhere together. The method of recording information seems to vary despite having the same storage device. What we take note of is individual and dependent on our leanings; whether we walk through life blind or with our eyes wide-open.
I can't claim to have walked through life (under half of it if I make eighty) with my eyes unsighted or staring; I've done both as I'm sure we all have, seen when I want and not when I haven't, and not realised exactly what I've recorded until much later. Sometimes years later.
Then again, perhaps there's some truth in the belief that memories of youth grow sharper with maturity.
Whatever the reason, it's led to this poignancy that nobody then knows me now. As I was not as I am. I wonder if anyone from then recalls me now as I do them, and in what way. Their recollections may not be kind, more funny-peculiar, and if that's the case perhaps it's better I don't know them for it would only spoil those time-worn images, or remind me of the person I used to be, before the boisterousness left and the teenager took over, before the stress of GCSEs, before the harsh reality of forging new friendships and college, and long before the complexities of office work. It's impossible to speculate how or where you feature, if at all, in other people's memories. I could just as easily be a faceless and nameless shadow amongst hundreds.
People are not indelible or permanent fixtures, in life or in our recordings of them; those that don't make a mark get forgotten. Replaced when others of more importance come along. It's just a fact, nothing to get upset about. However, there will come a point when you'll want to remember and be remembered, yet find you're the sole bearer of those faces and places which time has for others blotted out.

Picture Credit: Girl by the Window, Edvard Munch