Memory is a box we bury in time.
My past life blurs past me in moments, as we sit casually talking over Easter dinner, the pressure off, footsteps after years of running away from each other. We talk of new lovers, and I can’t help but flash back, 12 years of life lived, 12 years of hands and fingers and lips.
The first time he ever touched me still burns in my memory. The first time as his wife, in the morning sunlight of another April.
When our children began. In laughter, in love, in hate. The burning need of newness, the tempered flame of time together.
I see this all, staggered behind him as he talks of a new lover. As I talk of mine, sweetly, both of us. I feel a twinge for the one thing we could do well, the only thing it seems sometimes, the thing I will never touch again. I know him, I know his skin and the shape of his shoulders without looking, without explanation. He’s the old blanket that warms.
It’s hard to stare at one’s past across dinner, and not miss it. Sometimes I do, like then, when it wasn’t hard to talk, but then, I realize it’s only easy because we’re not trying to be something we aren’t. Maybe we should have been only friends 12 years ago, 5 years ago. Maybe we should have realized sooner that sex, that lust does not make a life.
Maybe I should have packed the memory box sooner, and cast it away into the air then. Blessed, but forgiven.
It’s like some days, my brain is flickering through my life, flipping it’s pages so I can close the book and move on. It barely hurts anymore, except on the days when it burns through me, what’s happened, the betrayal and the sliver of hate we held for each other. I look at my daughter’s then, born of love, ultimately flowered from the love we once had for each other, and I realize it was worth it. That 12 years weren’t all bad, and it’s fine, it’s right to smile at the good years too.
The box can hold so much. But it’s time to let it lie.