What’s the point of remembering our first encounter?
Here in my room, thinking about the past seems so unsubstantial and pointless. I can sit down, I can stand up, I can kick the wall, I can punch the pillow, nothing of what happened years ago changes one way or another. Remembering is like agitating the air in the room with a spoon, once I stop I am where I was before I started. The past is the past, it’s as simple as that. Recounting our first conversation in the library is not going to help at all. It’s not going to change anything. Most importantly, I cannot be there again no matter how much I revisit that scene in my head, I cannot once more see her for the first time, unaware of the fact that our paths are colliding.
In the library we wrote our first word. The first word in a story that feels endless. As I left the library with my books, having agreed to meet her the next morning at Portsmouth Square, I should have known that that day would be a memorable one. But I guess I didn’t at the time, as I can’t recall now any incidents between my leaving the library and the time I saw her again the following morning. Just this empty, pleasant hole in my memory for that day. Come to think of it, my mind is spotted with all these blanks for events in which she wasn’t a participant, as if she were a catalyst that reinforced my memories. So I don’t even remember if from the library I went directly home to unload my books and do some reading or if I stopped in a bar to have a couple of calming drinks.
Now I look at the grime that covers everything here, and being happy while walking the streets of San Francisco under a sunny sky and the subtle fragrance of flowering trees seems as unreal as a talking cow. The reality now is the darkness and the nonsensical nature of my job. I should be out there implementing the last scheme churned out by the Major. Focusing on the particularities of the immediate hoping that that numbs my brain.
Instead I don’t move. I ask stupid questions.
What would I give to change things, to reverse things? Wrong question, some paths cannot be rerouted, only eventually weathered into oblivion. And I don’t have anything to give to secure that type of deal even if such deal was on the table.
How do I feel now? Wrong question again. What does it matter how I feel now?
Who can help me now? All such simple questions. Who can help me know, really? Nobody can. And they would try the wrong thing anyway. They would want to grab your neck with one hand, warmly squeeze your cheek with the other hand and kiss your forehead. You would want to run away for two blocks and be in a different city already, you would want to be in total darkness and sleeping, or drink profusely, or submerge yourself into an opium hole, or be a retired shoe forgotten under the bed. They would want to hug you, of course. You would want to duck their attempt and disappear, be suddenly invisible, away, dissolve into the air. They would want to tell you that everything will be ok and expect you to feel so much better right then and there. And only for you it’s obvious that the future is no longer an option, that the present is all about living in the past. Even though you know that looking back on the past is futile.
Remembering that face, that smile, that last breakfast that the two of us had in San Francisco several months later, before moving to the desert. A cup of burned coffee, a fried egg on a toast with a dollop of tomato sauce, a second cup of coffee while looking outside at that wonderful morning sky, so many possibilities, so much promise.
Remembering is so foolish.
Too bad I cannot stop doing so.