You have not known what you are.
You have slumbered upon yourself all your life.
Your eyes have been as much as closed most of the time.
What you have done is already in mockeries.

The mockeries are not you.
Underneath them
And within them,
I see you lurk...

-Walt Whitman


two figures by a tree

IT'S MIND-BOGGLING how memory works and how we recall fleeting moments in our lives. If a person’s life is a series of photographs then it would have been composed of millions of them. They’d move past at blinding speeds and pointing out which is which would be impossible. But memory is a tricky thing. Sometimes, one of those images just halts before your eyes. And as it does, it makes you wonder how such a frail figment of thought could find its way back into your personal consciousness. We are caught by surprise by how those things we thought we’d lost forever still exist. Asleep deep in the past they’d stir and fall out of their slumber, their awakening crashing into our senses. Sometimes, they bring with them joy. Sometimes sorrow. Sometimes both.

Memories find us in the strangest of ways. They usually come to us in stealth, sometimes when you’re about to close your eyes to sleep, when you listen to a song, or when you bask in that rare moment of clarity. They tip toe and seep into us without a sound. Silent as shadows they whisper and make their presence felt. Sometimes they appear in sharp details but most of the time, revealed in a dream-like haze usually attributed to the decay of time. Details are bound to fade, the sound of the words spoken gets muffled—the whole thing just seems to disintegrate as how a cigarette smoke escapes a person’s lips; a stream of white at first, and then rises and unravels like a shapeless art, taking on a random form and eventually blending into the invisible air. But then there are those memories that transcend time, that defy the trappings of old age and stand immortal. It’s not their appearance that they become easier to recall. It’s actually the emotions they inflict us that we remember. And the more powerful they take hold of our hearts and command our souls, the more they linger and the more we remember them. They leave such traces; resounding imprints of their essences, so that when they’ve gone, they would still have a way back to us.

A memory came to me tonight. It came like a thief in the night and left like a long lost friend. It was a blurred image but still recognizable. I couldn’t even remember if there were words spoken. It was severely damaged and I was actually surprised that even with its weakly state, it still had the strength to walk over the threshold of my thoughts. I saw two figures by a tree, completely covered by shadow but drenched by the misty light of the stars. There I was—a boy strumming the strings of a guitar and opposite me was a girl, who listened in silence and grace. That’s only way I can visually describe it. But the feeling I felt that night was rather sharp like the edge of a knife and as a clear as a cloudless summer sky. It was in that moment when the world chose to close its eyes, and it was just me in her and the unspoken melodies of love in between. I beheld the memory, took it all in. It settled for a moment, hovered long enough to take hold of me. But like all memories, it left the same way it came. One moment it was there and then it was gone.

It was a sweet recollection. It’s also sad that I am powerless to keep it. Bittersweet it maybe but I’m still glad it had find me. I was able to look through an open window of days past and as I did so, something snapped back into focus and I remembered—I was happy and most of all, I was in love; It was the kind of love that’s innocent, and pure, and ever hopeful. And it’s funny that it took me just one feeble memory to realize all that.

photo image by hugochisholm


Pau said...

WOW. Moving. Beauty. :')

RJ said...

How I wish that both the feelings and that girl are still part of your 'reality', Ron. tanging ang napaka-romantic na eksena (two figures by a tree) lamang ang ngayo'y bahagi ng iyong mga alaala. U