I have a truly terrible memory.
Perhaps it traces back to a stressful childhood.
Or maybe it’s just a genetic glitch.
Whatever the cause, it’s true all the same. I hardly remember anything unless there’s a specific trigger connected to a very concrete image. Still, details like time are extremely difficult to pinpoint.
Was that yesterday? Last week? Ten years ago?
This tends to make intimate relationships…challenging. Especially in the beginning of a new connection–especially now. I no longer have nearly limitless, flexible free time, as I did when going to school and college in which to spend getting to know someone. There are a good ten hours a day devoted to my career and three times a week another two hours are dedicated to a rigorous fitness program.
That doesn’t leave me much time for personal connections.
After all, my cat likes to see me, too.
I met him last year, in the mildewy month of May. I was tired and fraying under an elephantine ton of stress.
Stress makes everything worse.
Our connection was intense, immediate, as if my skin were on fire under the touch of his fingertips. For two days afterwards I could still feel the press of his hands, the length of his body lying on mine, the taste of his kisses.
And then life…moved on.
We texted daily, and he began our nightly catch-up phone calls. But reality was waking up at 5:30 a.m. for an early-morning run to sweat out last night’s nightmares, into the office by 8 to brew up a whole new batch of insomnia, a half-forgotten lunch around 1:30, and then a long walk to calm down the all-day coffee jitters before driving home. A tablespoon of peanut butter and then two hours at the gym, ever hopeful that sheer fatigue would gift me a good night’s sleep.
Hit snooze and repeat.
That was real life.
He was…something else. Every day whatever it was we had drifted further away into dreamland.
Until the next time, just six days later but I had already almost forgotten everything about him.
That is the way my mind works.
It’s how I survive, how I have survived.
Slowly, like muscle memory, he began to linger in the cup of my palm as I caressed his head, the crook of my arm flung over his back as I curled up next to him in his big bed. Like a volcano subsumed into the ocean, I became a part of his rhythm and tides.
The remembering became easier, although even now it is not easy.
Did I say we met last May?
No, wait…it was two years ago.
Even now, in this moment I lost a whole year, disappeared as if it were nothing.
Although, truth be told, all these moments with him have meant more to me than a lifetime, a lifetime of trivial things I cannot remember.