Sometimes I imagine what it would be like to genuinely and perfectly relive moments of the past. To experience it again through all my senses, rather than merely my mind’s eye. The smells, the sights, the tastes in memory that would normally just be broken fragments, whispers of yesterday, would become palpable once more. I imagine not just remembering the look in her eyes, but truly seeing them gaze back into mine; once again knowing me, disarming me. To replicate the bliss and ecstasy of love, the tingle of held hands. Would I ever leave this palace of the past? This sepulcher of my former moments? Would I purposefully scratch the record, allowing the phonograph to loop, over and over, the happiness I once lived? Better than any drug, would its joys sap me of any connection to the present? To the future?

Memory, however, is not perfect. It fades in time; drifting, as we all do, towards oblivion. Occasionally, I remember. A familiar smell; an old photograph. All of a sudden she is here again, but through a veil. The emotions return distorted. The memory is insincere. An imperfect reflection of the original. And inevitably, it too drifts away. The smell dissipates; I put away the photograph. These events become memories themselves. Another fold overlapping, deepening the veil. The distance from the past widens further. Are these traps? Nettles and barbs that cling to me, dragging me down into an impossible crevasse? There is no bottom to hit; I try harder and harder to grasp at a wisp of smoke, and it smiles beautifully as it evaporates in front of me.

Are these traps? Or are they promises? Promises of memories yet to come. Reminders that new hands can be held; new eyes can disarm me. Does the imperfection of memories drive me to discover more? To seek out new joys, new happiness. To no longer desperately clutch at the fleeting images of the past, but to strive out boldly into the future; unsure of the quality of memories to be created, but confident in my ability to try. I have done this before. I can do it again. I will see again. I will smell again. I will feel again. She is a memory, but she will not be the only one. There will be new moments, and I will remember these new moments, and all the moments after.