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  • Kirsten Johnston

Instant recall

I careered headlong into a memory. I was simply making my way and collided, completely unexpectedly, with the back of a solid something from my past. This was no brushing by. Rather, despite its lack of any movement, the object was effective in not letting me continue. I was forced to come to a halt – stopped, quite literally, in my tracks.

With the benefit of hindsight, I can see the memory had always been standing and waiting there, long before I’d come hurtling along. When I so inadvertently found it, I was out of my usual geographic location, not fully aware that this was a place I’d once been – not only just been but in which I’d spent quite some time.

The memory was dusty, having not had the attention it perhaps deserved. It certainly belonged to me but it was tentatively, nonetheless, that I moved to say hello and reacquaint. Once I did, once I extended that tendril of mind, the joy and delight, the glitter and brilliance of those days was real again. I was uplifted, made great.

I wallowed in the memory for a while, soaked up the place and dragged deeper reminiscences to the fore. It became clear, though, that no amount of floating would be enough and, in addition, that this was no more my reality any more than this distant place was my home. I had moved on. All the other cast members had progressed to greater and longer-lasting worlds. This memory was merely a glimpse of time through a half-opened door that had now blown closed, not punitively or for any reason other than simply growing up and apart, but closed.

It was a physical effort, extracting myself from the enveloping mass, but it was also somewhat of a relief to leave behind its intensity. Our waltz had left me in a position to continue my journey which I did, giving a grateful kiss on the cheek and a possible promise to not leave our next meeting for so long. As the distance between us was re-established and the currency of present life curled back around me, I carried the warmth of the memory’s heart that had fused with mine, just for a precious moment.

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  • Kirsten Johnston Arts