When Memory Fails Us

Image Credit: pixabay.com

Our memories are the threads that hold the tapestry of our past together.  For some of us that thread is thick and strong; a colourful wool blending to create a rich visual transcript of our journey.  Yet for others, such as myself, memory can be like a fine, weblike lace, full of holes and empty, unanswered questions.  Perhaps it is a coping mechanism, a safety feature built into our brains that allows us to disappear into soft, safe, empty nothingness.  Perhaps it is a habit left over from a need to constantly suppress the waves of unwanted reminders and constant assault of regret.  Either way, it sets the foundation for a future full of uncertainty.  New memories are sometimes hard to form when one’s habit is to forget, to smother and blur with the broad brushstrokes of denial.  It makes for awkward conversations and apologetic explanations.  It creates the need to ask for gentle reminders from our forgiving friends.  It means asking for understanding, and hoping for the embrace of unconditional acceptance from the ones we love.


I’m Terrible With Names

Every Monday for the last six months, Emma and I have done our grocery shopping at Loblaws. We always go through the same checkout, with the same cashier. Her name is probably Lynn, but it could just as easily be Margaret (my memory is sketchy on a good day). Today, as I was putting my groceries on the conveyor belt, Lynn (or Margaret) looked up and gave me a great big smile. “I was just asking Charlene about you!” she said. “I haven’t seen you in a while. Have you been working?”
My brain, which had been skipping merrily along towards Small Talk Land, pulled up short. I had no idea what she was talking about. Who was Charlene? Had I started a new job? What the hell had What’s-Her-Name and I been talking about last Monday?!
“I don’t think… I haven’t… I mean, maybe, right?” I stammered, trying to stop my face from scrunching up in confusion.
She tilted her head slightly and stared quizzically at me as I busied myself with the potatoes.
“Well, it has been a long week,” I said, trying to redeem myself. Then I sighed. “I’m sorry. I have no idea what’s happening.”
The cashier forced a laugh, then stopped making eye contact. Suddenly we both became very focused on sorting and bagging the food. Never has there been a more proficient bagging team.
Clearly, it’s now time to switch grocery stores. Forever.