As It Was (As It Were)
You’re not remembering it as it was. You’re pretty sure the rooms were bigger. And the ceilings were lower. There was red carpet. Or were the walls red? No, no it was definitely the carpet. But maybe it was more burgundy. And there were so many windows and a strange buzz from the air conditioner. At least that’s how you remember it. But you’ll never know for sure. The place is different now. You can never go back because it will never be the same and it will only disappoint you. So all you have is your memory and maybe a few snapshots but they don’t do it justice because a place is more than its image. It’s more than walls and floors. It’s a collage. It’s the way the floorboards creak, the way it smells in summer, the way your muscles remember the layout of every room. Photographs don’t capture that. They’re too static. They’re frozen in time and don’t smell like anything. But you hold on to those snapshots anyway because memory is unreliable. Every time you remember something you have to reconstruct it piece by piece and inevitably there are parts missing so you fill in the gaps - you exaggerate, embellish and invent. Sometimes you get close to the real thing but it’s never exact and it’s never the same twice. Memory is fluid. It expands and contracts, explodes and collapses. But in the end maybe your exaggerations, embellishments and inventions are more interesting than the real thing so you grasp on to those instead and repeat them over and over until they become “true,” all the while telling yourself that the truth is relative anyway so what’s the difference?