16 May 2011
the moment is
when I was a kid, I used to wonder if it was possible to hold onto ordinary moments. you know, if you tried hard enough. if you closed your eyes and memorized every single thing about it, painted the scene in great detail in your mind and then just willed yourself to remember. could you? in twenty years? remember the way you bent down and scratched your knee while you waited for the school bus to round the corner. remember the way that peanut butter and jelly sandwich tasted while you watched an episode of good times. remember the way your skin stuck to the back of the station wagon seat while fleetwood mac played on the radio. because where do they all go? all the seemingly forgettable everyday moments? the thought of losing them all terrified the ten year-old me. no matter how unremarkable they were, I wanted them. I wanted them all. I still want them all. thirty years later and I have really only managed to hold onto what feels like a few measly scraps. for whatever reason, only certain moments stick.
so I thought about this earlier as I sat in the parking lot of the grocery store waiting for my husband to pick me up. I thought about how hard I tried at age ten to hold onto things, how hard I still try to hold onto things-- how I take photographs and make lists and scribble thoughts onto the pages of a hundred different notebooks, how carefully I've integrated this practice of preservation into my daily life. I am indefatigable. and then I sat there in that parking lot and did what my ten year-old self used to do. I memorized the moment. cool concrete beneath me, sun on my face. left hand on a cart filled with groceries for the week, giant bin of watermelons just a few feet away. old squeeze song coming from the grocery store speakers, me singing along. quietly, under my breath. one moment folds into the next and then it's over. and I am left hoping maybe this one will stick.