The memories arrived in little staccato notes, lingering in the air, in front of the window of her eyes, un-scheduled, interrupting. She had tried to censor them, to re-direct them, but they seemed to obey some higher order, some greater regulation.

She had read that the great successes in history had controlled their thoughts – with meditation, with focus, with directed and determined thinking: no space or time for guilt, regret, or memories of tender scenes with those now gone. A practiced art, a determined skill, mental muscularity. You could call it ‘concentration’, and ‘linear thinking’, and ‘compartmentalization’. But those words were not true. The truth was throw away those dragging, clinging weeds of memory and exist in the here and the now.

There had been times when she was sure she had mastered this, at last, her mind finally maturing, taking command of her reality. But then, suddenly – boom – a flashback would thrust its way into her sight to show her the power of her non-control: his chin as he threw his face back laughing; a smiling man laying in the hospital bed, rapturous with the powerful drugs, yet aware of the miracle of his life – before the true trials began.

She thought of them as flashbacks and did her best to move them off her inner screen as quickly as possible. Click, she would think, delete. Then click again, and again.

She dedicated her mind to seeing the bees and flowers – today, only, and the soft feel of rain – today, only, on her skin, and the soothing sounds of frogs, and distant city traffic, and running water and the peacefulness of the breeze moving the top of the red maple tree – today, only. To be a perfect instrument to experience the wonder of the world.

And then, renewing her instrument, breathing in the clean air, she felt her breath enriching her blood with oxygen, which rose to feed her brain, wherein the complex gray tissue sat, the tissue that had taken millions of years to invent and refine. The tissue where savored former flowers and bees and trees resided, alive and fresh. And real.

And she saw that she was her memories and that they were her.

One Response to “Flashbacks”
  1. The spirituality of the piece really resonates with me, as well as the hard existential questions. Love the click delete click delete, the little staccato notes of memories…

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