Memory

I cannot remember much except the world was still squeaky clean and my cheeks were the only things on fire and there were ironed uniforms and neatly covered notebooks and ice-cream every summer night and corn warmed over a fire when it rained and festoons and stars to look forward to in the winter months.

I can’t remember much but that chocolate tasted better and stories about the unreal were more real, and we were firmly convinced the pencils we did arithmetic with were actually magic wands, that there was always a happy anticipation for something that never happened, not the tired waiting of  today.

I remember a boy who gave me butterflies. He had plump lips and wore his hair brushed over his forehead and said funny thing that made me laugh and feel good and that sitting beside him in class infused me with a feeling I would later have a word for-contentment.

Yesterday I saw a boy who looked like him, and felt a nothingness so heavy, so laden with vacuum that it seemed to knock the breath right out of me.

And I couldn’t help think how the startling contemporariness of the now will fade with time, how the unbearable glowing chaotic of my heart will one day dwindle into a vague memory.

Maybe one day I will remember little but the weary hum of the airconditoner in the big classroom, yoghurt cooled in the refrigerator, green tea at the nearby canteen and hot tangy sauce underneath a bamboo shade in the next. I will remember, in fragments, quiet corridors after dusk, rain soaked red tshirts, music wafting in from nowhere, peeling walls of graffiti. How I counted the hues of hurt and dressed them up, how I scooped my insides onto paper and laid it out on exhibition.

Perhaps this version of me will, in time, be tucked into a drawer as musty leaves of what I call poetry, and I will go over them from time to time and maybe I will smile. But I hope to never recover from thinking of soft eyed, rusty limbed boys with somersaulting insides.

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