Friday, November 18, 2022

You will forget things, micro-essay

You will forget things. As you age, that’s the mantra you hear from people who think they know better. Nobody tells you this: you forget how to forget. The past rolls in like the Florida East Coast waves I once surfed. That’s me on my long board walking the nose on a wave spawned by a tropical storm. I am 16 and my shoulders already are scorched by the sun. I will be riding this wave as a 71-year-old living in Wyoming’s high prairie as my dermatologist burns off a rough patch birthed that day at the beach. I am 28 making love with my girlfriend in a Colorado mountain stream. The water so cold, our skin warms from the friction of our bodies. Do you remember…starts my wife, 66, the one from the stream, and I say I cannot forget and it seems like the right thing to say but what I really mean is there is no way that I can forget, that even if we had split up during the awful times that we want to forget I could not forget how, in the shade of quaking aspens, the sunlight vibrated across your skin, your blue eyes on me. My last thoughts will be of waves and water, you and me. I will not and cannot forget. That’s old age, the truth of it.

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