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Life is only what you wonder.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Custodian Of Memories

I must remember this, keep it tight inside of me, store it and cherish it like a prized possession, for only then will it have any worth, and it will never come again . . .

Memories are funny things. Your memories are unique to only you. You and someone else can witness the very same event, and have two different (sometimes vastly different) versions of said events.

Like this:
A few years ago, the husband and I went to Montreal, Canada. I hadn't been to Canada since I was a child, and aside from a day or two here and there, it was me and the husband's first real vacation.
OK, I've set up the scene. Here is where I fill in the blanks.
It's our second day there, and there's a disco not even four blocks from our hotel room. It's a beautiful night as we stroll down Ste-Catherine Street, not too cool, not too hot. We look into the windows of the closed shops as we pass by, some shops we wonder what it is they sell beacause it's all in French and neither of us speaks it.
The disco was hoppin' that night. You could feel the pound of the music from a block away. As I recall, it was kind of crowded that night in the disco. Not the standing-room-only packed where you can't move, but a fair amount of people with plenty of lovely young men to gawk at.
After getting our drinks, we sit at a table and as we sip the song "When The Money's Gone" by Cher comes on. I'm a big Cher fan, and I love to dance so I take G.'s hand and lead him to the dance floor.
It was getting hot in there, sweat was dripping off my brow, my hair was plastered to my forehead as I was gyrating, my t-shirt was clinging to my skin and sweat was trickling down my back -- but who cared? I was in Montreal, the lights were flashing, the disco ball was spinning, the beat was pulsing through my veins and I was dancing with my man (to Cher!) surrounded by beautiful men (most of them with their shirts off)! I could have died right then and there and that would have (almost) been OK.
We didn't stay there that long. The husband suggested we go to a quiet bar/tavern up the street, and so we did.
It didn't matter where I went as long as he was with me.

This was a memory that I cherished like a precious jewel.

Not that long ago the husband and I were at Leon's. We popped in there for a nightcap, and as we're drinking someone played "When The Money's Gone" by Cher on the jukebox.
"Oh!" I excaimed happily, "This song reminds me of Montreal!"
For a split second I was back there again, lights spinning all around me.
G. had a puzzled look on his face.
"Why does this song remind you of that?" he asked.
"This is the song we danced to at that club on Ste-Catherine's."
*blank stare*
"Don't you remember?" I asked.
"Well," he replied, "I don't remember that. But I do remember the place was too crowded -- and way too hot. I could barely breathe in there. The stupid bartender made my drink all wrong, and the drinks were way too expensive. And you practically yanked my arm out of it's socket pulling me to the dance floor. And once we got out there I kept getting kneed, elbowed and stepped on.
I couldn't wait to leave there and go someplace quiet and cool."

Frankly, I was stunned. His version of events was so not like mine. I had thought we had a much better time than that.

It was then that I realized:
The only place this event exists (as I remember it) is in my own mind.
That's it.
Not any of the 500 or so people that were there in the club that night have this memory.
Other people might have memories similar to this one, but not exactly.

This is why I hold on to trinkets, movie ticket stubs, and why I never want to throw anything away.
If I don't remember it, remember it as I saw, tasted and felt it, there's nobody else that will.
Plus, those memories are mine and I aim to keep them.