Sunday, August 01, 2010

on memories

I've always wondered where the phrase to know something like the back of your hand came from. I don't know the back of my hand one bit and I've never really taken out the time to examine it. If I close my eyes I would just have a vague idea of what my hands look like. I have a clearer picture of the hands that I've held though, possibly because there is so much more attached to feel than to appearance, and you can relate the former to the latter.

You see your hands everyday but don't know how many wrinkles are there on your knuckles. You don't know how many veins show on each hand and if they're the same number on both. But they're around, you know, you can examine them in detail anytime you want. I'd like memories to be that way - not really getting in the way, but just being around, so that you can pull them out and go over the details anytime you please.

There is no recollection that is effortless. Watch how your eyebrows come close together in intense concentration when you try to remember the details of an bygone moment which you clutched close to your heart and vowed never to forget. The one you carried around and thought of almost everyday, and then once in two days, and then once in a while, spilling a bit of the detail each time, till it became chiselled and sharpened to a few select features, nudging the others into the background, till it became a memory of a memory. You frown to yourself and squint at the picture, wondering which paint tube to use to reproduce this shade which you can see oh-so-clearly in your mind's eye but cant find in all the pantones.

And then you reconstruct the original moment by putting all these bits and pieces of memories together carefully, telling yourself that this was how it was, this was what it felt like, because - without even knowing it - you've already forgotten.