Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Persistence of Memory

The other day, someone sent me a link to an online photo slideshow. I was coursing through it, and then suddenly noticed that the subtitle under one photo indicated that a man in it was an old lover of mine. This person was someone who at one time understood me more and meant more to me than anyone else in the entire universe.

If the caption hadn't been there under that photo, I would have never recognized him. I would have just passed it right by.

He could have been standing right next to me the day before I saw that photo, and I would have never known.

I don't know anymore if my visual memory of him is warped, or if he has really changed that much. And it makes me wonder about the veracity of my emotional memory of him, too. If I met him today, and we were to talk, would I encounter a similarly unrecognizable person, or would we instantly connect, two neurons across a synapse, the way we always used to in the past?

Though I have long been out of contact with this person, part of me has still been walking around feeling as if the world is still okay because he is out there, and he knows I am out there, and he knows me, and I know him. But now I think maybe I don't, and he doesn't. Not anymore.

And if that is true, and we are now entirely absent of knowledge of each other, does that make the world less okay than it was the day before I saw this photo? Or does it make it more?

Good question.

And if I put that part of his I shared to rest and say it is no more, does it mean that part of me that I gave him, that girl I was then who only he knew, has to die, too?

Another good question.

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