The Untrustworthy Memory

What was your bedroom like?
What was the color you painted the walls?
What items did you have in the alcove?
And the bed – when did you move it away from the wall?

Did you sleep well there?

Excerpt from a subtle and irreversible alchemy by Adrian Reese

I haven’t lived in my childhood home for a long time. Still, it is the place I dream about when I dream about home. It’s odd, how I remember some things and have absolutely forgotten others.

I remember painting the walls turquoise, and having to paint them white again when we left. I remember how the enamel peeled off the drawers in the alcove. I remember keeping a collection of corks from the wine my father drank in those drawers. I remember a few of the things I set in the alcove, but not others. I remember how I had the letters DREAM on the wall, but the M fell so for a long time I just had DREA. I remember how the closet smelled of cedar. I remember the limited view out my windows.

I don’t remember when we moved my bed away from the wall. I don’t remember everything I had in my room or how it smelled. I don’t remember which stuffed animals I got when. I don’t remember what all was on the walls, if there was a cross or not. I don’t remember if I had a rug on the hardwood floor or not. I don’t remember how smooth the floor was. I don’t remember the color of the comforter on my bed. I don’t remember where my dog slept, if it was on the bed or somewhere else.

Is the sum of what I’ve forgotten greater than what I remember?

I often feel like my memory of my childhood is less robust than that of many other people. Much of it seems a blur or a blank. To be honest, my childhood was often lonely and uninteresting, so it’s no surprise that I don’t remember much. This is not the fault of anyone, it just is what it is (or was what it was…).

But it seems strange to me that so much of my past is gone – just like that. Like someone snapped their fingers, and it disappeared.

It all is in my mind somewhere probably, but I don’t know where. It’s like a past life that I would have to work to rediscover.

I am who I am now. But who was I before? Much of my work is concerned with this question. Was I depressed as a child? I think so. So was there no before, Before Depression, B.D.? Or was there a time where I was purely happy, purely myself, without this weight on my chest?

I – I don’t remember.

What do you remember of your childhood home? Does it linger in your memory, or has it vanished?



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