There are moments that you cannot forget no matter how much you try. They are always brief moments. Quick. Fleeting. But it is not length of time that is a factor, it is emotion. Shock, pain, anger, grief. The feelings are searing, burning an imprint on your mind. It becomes like a negative of a photograph so that when you remember it, it is in an inverted sort of way. Details and colors may be the exact opposite of what actually happened, but the emotion remains unchanged.
It is moments like these that slice your life into two categories: before and after. You then use the moment to define, to describe, to excuse things even though you know you shouldn’t. You will tell yourself that you should rise above and learn from it. You should be strong, allow the pain to help you evolve into a better person.
But you cannot. For the moment, once it exists, has its own cycle. It is fated to play on a seemingly permanent loop in your memory. It returns like persistent fleas after you think you have been successful in your extermination. This cycle will repeat itself until a new moment occurs, dislodging all that you held onto. A new slice is created, a new before and after. But this time you do not notice. You continue on. You grow, yet your growth is unobserved.
Until one day, you travel down a familiar road and stumble across an old memory. You poke it a bit, like a bruise, to see if it still hurts. Surprisingly, it does not. Then you can say something very adult like “Well, fancy that!” and then you continue on your way, wondering what all the fuss was about.
This post features Love’s Shadow, painted by Frederic Sandys