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Brief Encounters – Memories

Feb 18 2015

Brief Encounters – Memories

Memories The best thing about having memories is that they keep you going when your self-protecting system fails to provide. Everybody – or at least every sane person – has them. Their beauty is that they are real to oneself. They reflect perspectives on a same event, and they are always the true ones though they alter with time. They belong to you, selfishly. As much as you would like to have them shared, you’ll only pass on a shadow of what you remember. There are not enough words in a language to describe a souvenir, or the feeling attached to it, the smell, the taste, the view. Whatever your inner eye catches is forever recorded in your private-brain-body diary archive. The wonder of it all is that we are constantly busy recollecting, remembering or being reminded of glimpses of souvenirs. Flow of consciousness, they call it. We are continuously busy with opening drawers with old memory files, with encoding, decoding, processing, and interpreting our own experience  without realizing that, that very moment, we are building up another souvenir – of us doing that… I remember one particular day in the summer. I was 16. The circus had come to town, and though it was not at all a hype hang-out, my boyfriend, back then, agreed to go to the show. I had used my monthly child allowance money to pay my entrance ticket. At some point the elephants came to the arena. They had a shine on their skin that made them look like velvet mountains moving slowly in circle, sitting on the back paws, swinging their trunks up and down in the air and throwing dust to the people in puffing-like sounds to the huge amazement of the kids in the first rows. I recollect one image: the decoration on the head of one of the animals; shiny, precious. The whole picture transported me to a fairy tale-like scenery. I do not know why and I do not think it was important back then. I enjoyed it to the last cell of my body. It felt like a love story between me and my elephant. My gaze fixed on its huge body I was wondering where the grace of its moves came from. I wanted so badly to get closer to it!  I was impatiently looking forward to the end of the show as the actors would allow the public come touch the elephants. It would cost a fortune, and while frantically counting the change in my pockets to see if I could afford it, my boyfriend expressed his disagreement  in loud voice. I hear his voice in my ears rambling about how stupid that could be, to go touch an elephant, when we could have left  have  fun with our other friends with the money left. I somehow refused to her him then. I approached the elephant care-taker and I paid just like any other kid in line to have a moment with my elephant. I was completely unaware of what was happening around me. I was totally confounded in the  eyes of the elephant. The line was forwarding quite slowly. My eyes were already  caressing the elephant’s ears, trunk and heavy wrinkled paws. I felt like I would hug him, the way you hug an old friend, the way you comfort some old acquaintance you haven’t seen in a long time, when you know that words would not be appropriate to express everything you had been through since you last saw each other. I was boiling with restlessness. I finally got to the fence that prevented the people assisting to this photo shooting session to jostle one another inside the arena. I saw with the corner of my eyes my boyfriend cutting his way straight to the elephant. I stepped towards my friend. I smiled the way I do when I feel safe, secure… protected. I stopped in front of him, on his side. I took a deep breath of his smell and I held  it inside as it were my last chance to breathe that day. The care-taker made a sign. I was staring unable to move. He urged me to get closer, have my picture and go as the other people were waiting their turn. And then it happened… I touched his trunk and I plunged! Like sky riders allow themselves to fall and be lifted by the draft of warm air, I plunged into an unexpected abyss of sensations: the elephant’s trunk was not velvety, nor soft, nor shiny! It was rough, with deep crevasses. Itt felt hard and strong and contended. The hairs tickled my palm and the surprise of it all, the unexpected, revealed to me in one single touch! I laughed like a small child laugh with soul, body and spirit.

A one-lifetime serendipity I was to thank for for the 20 years to come of my life. One of the disadvantages of having memories is that they sometimes leave you with an unaccomplished feeling, which makes you want go back to the same moment in life. You will try to recreate the same momentum with the same intensity over and over again. The more you  take out that particular picture from your archive, the more it gets deprived of its colors. The feelings fade out, the glowing is wearing off. Yet, you remember that particular moment and you subconsciously hope you’ll come across it again, someday. Somehow you put your faith to the test. I also tried to renew this experience. It never came across as I was expecting it to. Until one day… one February day…

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