Letters of Life

I Need A Day to Remember Her Name

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“The sun is going down. Its reddened light, filtered through the green foliage of a sultan’s parasol, flecks the ground in patches. High up on the trunk of a tree, cicadas are singing their hearts out. Tonight, perhaps, a little rain may fall.” Soseki Natsume, I am a Cat (1905-1906)

Is it because her name, as posted on social media, is so very long? Or exotic? Or strange-sounding?

Is it because the person who wrote that comment wrote in a language that wasn’t native to him?

Maybe he meant that after that day, after seeing that photograph, he would not ever forget the name of the woman posing with one foot in front, a navy cardigan over a dark dress that showed her knees, standing between two people he very likely knew the names of.

Memory is an evolving creature, it’s key characteristic is inaccuracy. William Maxwell, an admired author, wrote: “What we, or at any rate what I, refer to confidently as memory–meaning a moment, a scene, a fact that has been subjected to a fixative and thereby rescued from oblivion–is really a form of storytelling that goes on continually in the mind and often changes with the telling.

“Too many conflicting emotional interests are involved for life ever to be wholly acceptable, and possibly it is the work of the storyteller to rearrange things so that they conform to this end.

“In any case, in talking about the past we lie with every breath we draw.” [So Long, See You Tomorrow, 1979]

 

 

 

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