The Invasive Nature of Memory

(read M as memory)

One afternoon, in the shade of a flowering dogwood tree, you and M share a hammock and stare diagonally toward a row of houses that border the lake to the right of you. You feel a draft of wind and pull the hammock shut like a cocoon. M recalls that NPR episode where a man with a high-pitched voice described how caterpillars die slow deaths in their cocoons, and that only after a caterpillar is turned to silly-putty does a butterfly flourish from its remains. You think this is a good example of reincarnation and wonder why Christians don’t use this as proof. You think scientists should put tiny cameras in cocoons, but that probably can’t happen, and even if it did, it’d probably be too dark to see in there anyway. As the wind rocks you gently back and forth, you can only utter a 2-syllable word per every sway. You think su-gar, am-ber. You think, I wonder how long the world has gone without someone dying. You look up toward the tree while M struggles to think if it even knows that kind of time increment. You tell M that this unit of measure is discouragingly small and to move on. You think I wonder who in the world knows the most and I wonder what they had for lunch today. You wonder do they shake hands or wave when they say goodbye? M is thinking of your uncle’s face in this moment, but you don’t recognize him. You notice the clouds have sped up and wonder how long you have in the hammock before it starts raining. You look forward at your legs, one bent and one straight, and try to imagine which speck of skin will be struck with the first raindrop. You wonder what does the inside of my boyfriend’s mouth tastes like right now? M interrupts with the pungent scent of sausage that lingered in his mouth yesterday, even after he brushed his teeth, which made you think I wonder if he’s using the most efficient toothbrush. As the first rain drop hits, you realize you were wrong about the positioning. You think animals and humans have the same reaction to rain: “take cover,” as if we’ll melt or something. You wonder why do we separate getting completely wet by intentionality? M thinks of your shower this morning and how the water fills up the entire bathtub in 6 minutes.

You think time moves so irregularly when there’s no clamor to anchor you to each hour. M recalls the first time you took an amphetamine and how it made you so aware of time that sleeping seemed to be a waste of it. You wonder who in those houses bordering the lake stares at their ceiling blankly before they go to bed? You wonder who in those houses listens to mainly alternative rock? M begins to hum the beginning of “Revelry” by Kings of Leon. M muses: “dreaming of revelry [x4].” You get goosebumps. M reminds you of listening to that song in the backseat of a car while every person screamed the words for a different reason.

As the rain picks up — you remove yourself from the hammock and walk calmly, without haste, to your house. You try and pin-point every single drop on your body. You feel passionately that people should enjoy the rain and despise the sun. M recalls that time you got sun-poisoning and wonders if that’s the real reason you stopped wearing bras. M reminds you that bras are uncomfortable whether you’re sunburned or not. You nod in agreeance.

You wish every part of your life was closed-captioned, and how, if this was the case, everyone would start competing for the most interesting verbiage. M reminds you of how hard you laughed at the caption *racy instrumental music playing* and how that translates differently to everyone. You consider the noises you’re experiencing right now and how they’d be translated into closed-captioning. You think, *faint rainfall,* you think *resounding internal dialogue.* M winks at you.

A man in a plain black shirt and jeans walks down the road thinking “it rained harder yesterday.” M thinks of the music video for “Rabbit in the Headlights” where a man walks in dark clothing through a tunnel and repeatedly gets hit by cars. You think what is he thinking? But you assume it’s about the rain. He is carrying nothing with him so you think he probably has no destination. You think he must be sad. 16 hours prior to these thoughts the man picked cherry tomatoes from his garden and put them in a pasta he made for a woman. He met this woman at a local bar a few days back and thought, I want to push her hair behind her ears. M reminded him of waking up to Amy last winter and how she always sweat so much in her sleep that her hair was always slicked back behind her ears already. He always slightly resented this fact. He thinks, maybe this time it’ll be different. M isn’t so sure.