As times marches on without a single moment of rest, those stills which are kept in our memory gradually fade and become living, discolored sepia images which are an almost constant reminder of what might have been.
Late at night, when we are in that mid-groggy status which appears to be in a sleep mode and yet is not, images of a lifetime come by. Most do so unbidden; and some actually are recalled by will. Of these, the ones which come without warning or invitation often bring the more juicy and sometimes troubling memories to the fore.
Lately, my left hip has begun that journey which I suspect will eventually bring it to the replacement table; a journey which its lifelong loyal companion on the right side has already completed. So, to help me weather the pain a bit, I was given some fairly strong meds. I will only take them at night, since I drive and work during the days. Perhaps as a result of this med, and as a side effect which has yet to be personally classified as welcome or not, many of these images come and go late at night (or early in the morning, if you prefer) bringing back to life moments which had been lost in those somewhat impenetrable mists which we tend to develop as years accumulate. Possibly as a self defense mechanism.
Last night I was in one such state, must have been around 3 in the am. Actually I had fallen asleep but, unfortunately, with the TV on. I do not sleep well with either light or noises and, eventually, some program produced a loud noise that woke me up. Maybe not altogether, but it was enough to disrupt sleep and enough to make me aware of the fact I was no longer sharing Morpheus’ warm and forgiving embrace. Usually, my best defense at a moment like this is to turn over, and make believe this did not happen; that being half awake is all part of the dream… whatever dream I may be having at the moment.
The dream I don’t quite remember for, as usual, my dreams –with at times worrisome exceptions- are not the stuff to write home about. What I do remember however, is a compendium of fleeting images, most of them unrelated and spanning a good deal of my cognizant years. One, as a small child, waking up and running to the front of the house where under the Christmas tree, the Three Wise Men had come during the night and left the wanted presents. Center piece was a big, bright red Pope bicycle.
After that, and perhaps to balance the good moment came an image of my sister and I at the airport, when we were leaving Cuba. It was a strong, déjà-vu feeling and not pleasant. Then, a number of images from places of long and not so long ago came by. Some sepia, some in vivid color. From sacred halls of childhood to places lived in and visited over the years, first as a young and then a not so young adult; some which had warm memories and some which were best forgotten. A nonsensical whirlwind tour of years and moments past, seemingly to let me know that my mind would not easily let go of these images and experiences.
Perhaps the two most telling images were of people. Two who had been friends of many years and whose friendships(?) were lost after my divorce. They were lost to a one sided tale, told by the other part of the proceedings. One had been a friend by the time of my marriage, the other one came in later on through one of my ex-wife’s close friends so in his case, I am more willing to understand. In Bob’s case, however, the feeling of betrayal was too strong, too real. Perhaps fueled by the fact that after 27 years of very close friendship a tale told was accepted at face value, and no one ever picked up a phone to ask me whether there might be another side to the story. Another life lesson learned and another notch carved.
I don’t think I am going to take this bloody medicine again anytime soon, for some of these memories and images are best left to those mists in which they had been safely hidden. I prefer to make new memories every day and need the space to be available. Sometimes, living circumstances bring about failures which haunt us when there is little we can do to manage them; we live on and hope that life will help us do so in the long run.
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