As a kid my parents taught me to not respect material things, to be ready to pick up and move on at the drop of a hat and to be unattached to people and objects. Childhood friends? I had one, for a few months and even if I don’t know her last name or where I would ever find her again, Esther, is the best friend I ever had and the longest friend I ever got to know. I have one photo of us together and it’s my prized possession from childhood. My mother burned the rest and I still remember suitcases filled with photos that I frantically pillaged through, rescuing as many as I could before they were destroyed.
The irony is that I now try to keep and save and preserve all that I can, be it people or memories or letters. I am sentimental for history, symbolism and objects, but probably most of all, I am sentimental for the connections I clumsily forge with people who I let (or struggle to let) into my soul.
No matter how brutal my mother was with her views, she wasn’t wrong. She was brutal because life was brutal, but she was right.
Life is imperfect and impermanent and it remains one of the most difficult things for me to comprehend. Even if we try with promises and titles and great and noble efforts, trying to hold people or a moment is like trying to hold water in ones hands.
Although we cannot hold on to anyone, sometimes who and what we love holds onto to us.
Even a memory travels as it wants in and out of consciousness anywhere in my body. It’s on vacation and returns to stick in my throat or wash out my eyes at the most inconvenient of times. Once you think it’s gone for good, a sound, a regret, a pleasure, a dream brings you back, right back in bed in Casablanca or sitting on a rooftop overlooking the city. It’s unresolved. It’s guilty and messy and dirty and beautiful and gone until it returns again without an invitation.
What do I do about that? Nothing, except accept that I don’t know what to do about that, even after all these years.
I hope I have learned somethings in the last 10 years in the lonely corners of Casablanca filled with silences and not the excitement of New York. With fire in my belly still, I say to my older and slightly wiser self, “You cannot hold on or keep or preserve or try to…this isn’t yours to keep.”
Although I won’t burn my photos or send the majority of journals to the trash bins, because although they mean the world to me, but they also weigh me down even if they were made to preserve me…the truth is that they can’t be kept forever and I am not that girl anymore who wrote them. I am more than these things that I have collected. I am even more than what has collected me.