Those people I left

September 25, 2010

Those people I left, those minds, those souls, I wonder, do they ever think of me? Do they ever stop and cross a light and remember the moments we had there? Early mornings at the liquor stores, late nights at the taquerias? Even I don’t remember the names of those places anymore, I have to sit and struggle to remember.

Life is an endless string of faces and words, each more distant than the last. Why sit and chronicle them? Why bother with family trees and friendship bracelets? Because, because, they matter, some say. Because, because, it’s what makes us human. Endless labyrinths of memory make us what we are?

But I sit, here, and here I remember the pies I ate, the lies I told, the drinks I drank, the bodies I saw, and here, now, I look back on it all and think about what it all turned into. A city in the desert, a mirage, infested with palm trees, a place that meant so much and gave so little and made me so much.

A year ago I would have torn it to pieces. I understand, now, finally, after four years, that it isn’t the location that makes a home: it’s its people, its citizens, its bustling to and fro that find itself caught up in some particular situation at any given time, even at night, even while we sleep, because then we can be whatever we are, then our dreams come most true, even if when we wake up they happen to disappear.

I see, now, the pictures of my father at my age, my father at Cairo, my father the dancer, my father the lover, and at another angle I see, now, a mirror image of myself, phony, wrinkled, drunk, dour, but content. How can I reconcile my past with the past I have never known? How can anyone? Even if we do not think it, we feel it, every day. We walk down sidewalks and alleys we did not construct; we see edifices and monuments we were not a part of. We live in a world filled with symbols, with memories, with history, with others and with ourselves.

So, then, that’s how it goes: the entire world is of me, is of us, is of generations long gone.