There will always be something for us to remember. Whether the moment is small or quick or if the time is bigger than ever, there will always be something for us to remember.
I take this idea to heart. And you should too.
I take this to heart because there will come a time when all we have is our memory. All we have is the memory of a moment that was once so small but one day, that tiny little moment will becomes bigger than everything.
I remember the first time I ever “Hung out” with a girl, so to speak. She was the first girl that openly said she liked me, which was fine until I spent the day with her. That’s when I realized I didn’t like her back. But why?
Was there something wring with me?
As small as this time was, I remember my walk home from the only afternoon I ever spent with her. I was young and it was autumn. The sun was coming down.
I don’t know why I remember this. I just do.
I remember the late afternoon sunlight on the field near my house. I remember how the sun shone a golden hue across the empty trees and the tall wheat colored grass in the field. I remember this place from my youth. It was a field in the middle of my town that was otherwise suburban, but here, in the right setting, I was able to pretend I was someplace else, like say, out in the country.
There was a moment here. I’m sure of it.
There was a moment when I decided to look around. I felt the air on my face and the wind through my hair. I was young. That’s for sure.
However, I was old enough to understand that beautiful things come along sometimes to break the mood. I just needed to find them.
I cannot say I remember much about my Grandmother. She passed when I was 12. This was my Father’s Mother. She lived in Florida. She lived in Miami Beach, which is now South Beach.
Her building was 100 Lincoln Road, —and I’m not even sure how I remember that. I just do.
I think my last memory of her was my last visit, which was the first time I ever had a bagel with lox and cream cheese.
To this day, that was the best bagel I ever had. Maybe it was the way she made it. Maybe the bagel was different because it was made with challah bread. Maybe the lox was different too because it was minced into little pieces.
I’m not sure if the cream cheese was store bought or one of the popular commercial brands. All I know is getting me to eat anything as a kid was damned near impossible. But Gram made me a bagel with lox and cream cheese. And I ate every bite.
(I wish I could have another.)
Aside from the softness of her hands, which was softer than the silky feeling of a warm chenille blanket, I can’t say I remember much else about my Grandmother. I can’t say I remember much about the bedtime stories she used to tell me. I hardly remember her apartment. All I remember was the nearby clock at the top of a building across from her patio. And there was a Church bell that chimed at noon. I remember that.
I have a memory from my teenage years. I was moving in a crazy direction. There was too much going on at once. I was in serious trouble. I just bought a small .25 caliber pistol for $50. I knew something awful was about to happen, which it did.
I had to run from people. I had to hide, which I did—or should I say which I always did because this was part of the life.
I found a place to hide in one of the town sumps. I set up a little spot for myself and lit one of my smokes while listening to The Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.
It was perfect moment at a most imperfect time. It was enough of a moment to alleviate the pressure of all the nonsense in my head. It was enough to let me unplug or disconnect.
I put on my headphones and smoked the last of my cigarettes. I drank from a little flask, which I kept with me in the inside pocket of my beat-up denim jacket. It was sad and quiet but yet, there was honestly something redeeming too.
I knew it was only a matter of time. I knew something awful was about to happen, which it did, —which leads me to my next memory that was not long after.
I was locked in a cage and listening to the howls and cries of drunks in the drunk tank. I heard arguments in the holding cells that went on down the tier. I heard the sound of flat-footed guards and the clicking of their heels as they walked down the corridor.
I could hear the jingle of their keys and the sound of cell doors, rolling open, and the shortly after, I heard them roll shut with the exclamation of an unforgettable slam.
I had no idea how much my life was about to change. I had no idea if I was going to suffer in physical or emotional agony. I didn’t know what was about to happen. I just knew something was coming. Something was on the way. there was something in the mail for me,. that’s for sure.
I couldn’t help but to look up at the windows across from the cell at ceiling height. They were partially tilted outward and opened far enough for me to see the sky. This was the only source of anything natural.
Otherwise, all else was institutionalized. Everything else was re-manufactured, synthetic, and imprisoned. The smell of the place was awful. The sounds were miserable. But still, there was a tiny glimpse of the sky. The view was just a sliver, but I could see it. After a while, I wouldn’t look at anything else.
I remember . . .
It was more than a year later. It was the month of September. This made it one year and a month later, to be exact. Mom came up to take me home from the farm.
It was done. I paid for what I did. I had a clean slate for a while. But that didn’t last too long.
I never think much about my memories. Instead, I find that something comes along, like the trigger of a song, or maybe a smell that reminds me of my old home at 277 Merrick Avenue, and almost naturally, almost immediately, I can see my old home.
I can see The Old Man in the den, watching television. I can see the paneling on the walls and the carpeting. I can envision Mom in the kitchen and my brother Dave in his room.
And me, I am only a spectator in this vision. I can see them but I am not really there. They don’t notice me. This is more like a dream really —it’s a memory of my old home, which has become extremely valuable.
I remember things, like the first time I saw a girl smile. I remember the first time I kissed a girl.
Then of course, I remember the other firsts. I remember the intimate ones. This is when an entirely new world opened up to me. This is when I understood why men went to war for the love of a woman’s hand.
I understood why the queen will always be a queen and a princess will always be a princess. I suppose I was always trying to play the prince with hopes that someday, I can be the king to the right queen.
I have these memories of the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. This is why I say there will always be something for us to remember.
There will always be a remnant of our history to keep us warm when we feel cold, to comfort us when we need it most, and to make us smile when a tear streams down our cheek.
If you remember anything about me, please remember this:
I absolutely and always loved you perfectly, faults and all.
The one thing I learned is even amidst the bad times; even in the times of my darkest struggles and in the worst places, somewhere, there was always a glimmer of something beautiful. And that’s life. That’s what we have to look for; we have to always find something promising, even amongst the wreckage.
So long as there is love in my heart, so help me, I knew there will always be a glimmer of hope for me