I Like the Way It Feels to Remember

The carpet guy is coming on Friday. I need to have my room cleaned out and empty, all the furniture packed up or moved out. Today I dragged a huge 20″ x 35″ box from my closet. It was heavy as fuck. I opened the box and found it filled with papers of my old schoolwork. I haven’t opened it since last summer, when I piled all my junior year’s worth of education into that overstuffed storage box.

Panting, I heaved the box across the hall to the other room. (We’re not getting carpet done in that room, so it’s become a storage vault.) I looked at the monstrous thing and thought of all the uses it had if it weren’t filled with my school junk. I could use it to store all my photography equipment and my photo albums and my projects. I could put all my stationary and journals and yearbooks in it. I could stash all those little miscellaneous things that you don’t really know where to put, but can’t stand to throw them away either. And oh! how it would unclutter my messy, messy room.

So I sat down in front of it and started going through all the papers. There was a brochure I made for a class my Junior year. Extensive notes I compiled as a cramming technique just before an AP exam. An essay and the many drafts it took to get it to the copy I actually turned in for a grade. And as I went through all these papers, I realized that they were so much more than just products of a public school education. They were hard copies of high school memories.

However much some of those memories are to recall, they all came flooding back with merciless aggression. The day I worked until 4 am finishing a magazine project for history. The day I argued with a teacher and had a nervous breakdown. The day I hesitated to turn in an essay because it was the most personal, most emotional, most honest thing I had ever written.

These memories triggered others, and before I knew it, I was reliving experiences in fast-forward. The day I got into math camp. The day I screamed with joy when I found out I was concertmaster. The day I started running and discovered the satisfaction of a good run. The day my crush called me, his voice shaking and nervous, and asked me out. The day I left for math camp and cried the whole plane ride to Boston out of homesickness. The day I lost concertmaster, and yelled and banged my fists until my vocal chords turned to sandpaper. The day I ran until my knees almost gave out, and I cried that 12 miles wasn’t enough. The day someone I loved broke up with me.

I think there’s something wonderful about the way we can feel and be hurt and remember how it all happened. It makes us stronger. And happier. And more real. And more human.

I like the way that love pangs
against the heart
and makes it live and beat.

I like the way that stomachs flip
inside themselves
dancing to romance and memories.

I like the way that hair sticks
to faces
when oily hands caress it.

I like the way that fingers sweat
laced in fingers
that love each other.

I like the way that love pangs
against the heart
and makes it stop and bleed.

I like the way that throats tighten
and words disappear
when the ground falls out beneath you.

I like the way that tears feel
on my cheeks
as it runneth down cold skin.

I like the way that eyes swell
and stick together
when waking the morning after

I like the way that lovers
love each other
and hurt each other’s hearts.

And it’s not that I like the way pain sticks
like a needle you have to wrench out
before you heal.

I just like the way it hurts
in every organ
and every limb
and every phalange
and makes you that much stronger.

I like the way love pangs.

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~ by thechanster on 6:30 pm, Tuesday, August 12, 2008.

3 Responses to “I Like the Way It Feels to Remember”

  1. oh no! you’re going to make me cry!

  2. Charlotte, you did make me cry…I’ve been going through the same thing. I have 7 whole boxes of all my school stuff since 4th grade–and that doesn’t count the past 3 years that I have in my closet in my room. I went through 6th and 7th grade today. It was hard getting rid of them. Memories I didn’t even know I had all came flooding back. All the minute little memories. The projects. The teachers. The friends that I lost. The friends that I made. I relived two whole years of my life in a matter of hours today. Isn’t that weird? And yet I couldn’t keep all these papers…Other than triggering those memories, they had no use. But they were a documentation of my past! And yet, when would I ever go through them again if I kept them? This inner battle with myself. It felt disloyal getting rid of anything. I spent so much time and emotion into everything and yet here I am discarding it as worthless…and I feel like I am losing my childhood as I get rid of these papers–discarding a piece of myself forever…yes, I may have lived through those experiences, but now I won’t ever remember them…oh gosh, I’m crying again…

  3. as for the poem…I know exactly how you feel Char…sometimes it seems weird that we rush to love and to lose…but at the same time, I would never trade a moment of it. In a poem once, I called the pain exquisite…I think that is a good way to describe it…

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