Wednesday, November 2, 2011
the place of remembrance
i looked down at them, tucked into my jeans. remnants of storage dust on their heels from a summer spent in the basement. "i got these the day heath ledger died," i replied absentmindedly. all of a sudden, they weren't just shoes anymore. they were reminders. of that evening in college spent by myself at the mall. why i, the student with campus police on my speed dial, was out shopping alone is beyond me. but there i was. knee deep in the shoe department at belk's. the text came when i was trying them on.
i was little when princess diana died. i bumbled down the steps for a drink of water to find mama alone in the dark, crying in front of the television. years later, i sat on that same couch and watched the coverage of the JFK, jr. plane crash. i learned of aaliyah's death in a church corridor one sunday morning. these places and objects are forever changed to me.
i don't remember much. i joke with robert that my memories start around middle school. but these things--these moments that don't even directly involve me, are stamped inside. they are a part of me and i of them.
i am a collection. of memories and days and evenings spent watching the news. of remembering and forgetting until some off the cuff comment triggers something deep inside and i remember all over again. until a co-worker reminds me that my boots are more, so much more, than leather (well, pleather).
but being human means embracing these associations, these little fibers that connect us as a whole and unite us. in suffering, yes. and in sadness. but also, when the heavens align at just the right moment, in inexplicable joy.