TURNING AWAY FROM THE MIRROR: II
People become frozen in memory at the age when you knew them best. And time makes memories porous. I try to surround them, cover them with a dense canopy so nothing can seep through to dilute them. It is an arduous attempt. There is no running from your self and wishing not to look back, because until you do, you are lost. Much like the deluge of erosion brought on by the rain rolling down those narrow mountain hollers of Haymond, Kentucky, time will not stand still.
I have within me a tendency to invent explanations to cover a loss of memory. I’ve never been diagnosed with Korsakoff’s syndrome, but my manifestation of a mental disturbance, a conversion if you will, keeps me stuck in the past trying to make sense of it so I can figure out where I’m going.
But I digress.
I found myself in the passenger seat of a car traveling through the redwoods of California wondering aloud what on earth it all means. I grew tired of the histrionic flapping that passed as conversation. Sixty-nine years and still...all of a sudden I had the desire, the need to wail.
“Did I tell you I went to St. Remy and walked in Van Gogh’s footsteps, stood where he stood, in those yellow landscapes …slathered disease inflicted paintings…I broke down and wept openly…I already knew the loneliness, owned it really. I wanted to feel what he had felt, see what he had seen, but the only thing that came through was the madness, starry night indeed!”
“Regret?” I say aloud. “I can think of only one part of my life that I remember with sorrow. His name was David White. It was the season of golden summer, and I was perplexed, bewildered, not to mention young.”
“At the time I thought I was in love,” I continue. Looking back through fifty years, I realize now I probably was.