worth remembering (ca. june 2004)

(for c.u., on the crest of a frightful breakup)

  • there’s something about forgetfulness which brings people back to reason. amnesia occurs to every other bubble-haired heroine in siesta-time soap operas, so we dream at 3pm that our realities can also be distorted beyond recognition. we wish memory weren’t as persistent as that dali portrait of melting clocks.
  • you might notice that amnesia in soaps happen at the most strategic of moments: when the heroine is sick with unbearable longing. pining for her lost love, she listlessly walks across the middle of what seems like a deserted street when out of nowhere a punk driver swerves sharply from the curb and knocks her on the pavement, conveniently tossing her head onto the gutter. as she wakes up to fluorescent lights amid crisp-linen nurses and medical interns pretending to be busy with checking for vital signs, she is stricken with trepidation that she remembers nothing. shit, not even her own name. then, she is reborn.
  • she discovers a new love, this time more emotionally stable and more wealthy than the root cause of her amnesia. she builds a business empire of some sort or becomes a budding superstar while the new paramour looks on beaming with fatherly pride. and then she becomes famous all over mexico (philippines/puerto rico/wherever).
  • there’s a jim carrey-kate winslet film coming up about a medical procedure that could erase painful recollections a patient might wish to dispose of.
  • we could only dream it were that easy.
  • people try to rework the past by restricting memories. they commit to flames (quite literally) every object that jolts recollections of a history once held in a position of sensitive merit. they were content. but with dust in their eyes and a swelling in their throats, they linger a little longer as they scrutinize the gradually dying fire that took away every last piece of a putrid past. ashes never really amount to anything special.
  • personally, i’d rather stack them away where molds would fester them.
  • but the now-famous soap princess, bedecked with weighty gems, hair chopped to a mod bob or something radically different from what used to be low-maintenance, runs into the old flame and is heaved into a stupor of aching remembrance. the face is familiar, but she can’t quite recall where it belongs… and the season ends with a wedding.
  • the amnesiac ends up with the forgotten.
  • we could only imagine broken hearts were restored in such a fashion. pain would have been but a myth. we wouldn’t really want that, would we? there would have been less poets and more mortals.
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