Memories of Fog

Perhaps I should participate in some writing challenges to get back into the swing of things: here are 1,000 words.

I don’t even remember taking this photograph, but that’s nothing unusual. I probably don’t remember two-thirds of the photos I take in a day. I’m used to that, almost.

I do an exercise every night, just before I get cozied up in bed. I make a list of how my day went, according to the story I find in my head. I retrace all the steps my mind kept track of, during all my waking hours–then I compare the journey to the evidence I find on my camera.

Not once have the two matched up.

I wouldn’t be able to guess where I go or what I really do if I didn’t have my itchy shutter finger.

That doesn’t make sense at all, does it? It is hard for me to explain properly the first time around.

No; it’s only hard when I make it hard. I sleepwalk through life.

My brain doesn’t work right. I see just fine; I hear, smell, taste and touch just fine and dandy. But somewhere along the way, everything gets lost in translation. If I met you today, I won’t know you tomorrow. To me, you’d be someone else, and nothing about you would be the same.

I don’t understand how I know this. I just do. Or maybe I don’t. That’s the funny thing. Maybe I do sleep all day, and someone else comes in and takes my camera and shoots all this marvelous world outside my apartment, only to return my camera to the same spot beside my bed each evening, just in time for me to wake and go through this routine.

I don’t know.

Today I write down my list, and it includes a trip to a park, with a bench, a bag of stale bread, and pigeons flocking about my feet. There’s a bowl of soup I had for lunch, or dinner, or breakfast, even. There’s shopping in a massive department store, and an endless parade of evening gowns for an event I don’t remember planning to attend. There’s a lake, and rowing out to the center to lie down and gaze at the clouds slowly passing me by.

As I boot up my laptop and plug my camera in I have to wonder if today is the day it all syncs up.

It’s not today.

There are seventeen shots of an elevator’s panel of buttons, missing thirteen, with a different floor selected in each. My apartment building doesn’t have an elevator, with or without a thirteenth button.

There are feet, possibly my own, probably my own, unless I handed off my camera, but I don’t own any red sneakers. I check by my door just in case I picked some up today, but no.

There is chain link, miles of it, it seems, keeping in a wild herd of herb gardens. Somehow that does make sense to me. If I owned an herb garden, I wouldn’t want it to escape. I would want it to always stay where I left it, and fencing it in seems pretty sensible. I don’t think many others have my problem, though. Everyone else usually puts up fences to keep others out.

Now a brick. Not a wall or a pile, simply the one brick, over and over, nearly thirty shots. I don’t know what’s so special about this one brick that I needed so desperately to capture its soul, but there we are. Captured. I hope it’s not a superstitious brick, that one day it will still have a chance to get into brick heaven. I hope bricks go by different rules than we do.

A bagel. No soup. It must have been filling enough. I’m not hungry.

All of those, but this one is the only one that truly speaks to me. The girl on the carousel.

I know she isn’t lonely. I know she’s content. I can feel it, looking at her now, looking at her for the first time. She’s waiting for someone.

It wasn’t me; there’s no recognition on her face. There isn’t even acknowledgement. Was I really there at all? Did I breathe the same air she did, as she patiently kicked her feet in her Hello Kitty blue jeans?

I stop, and look at my fingernails. A tiny bright chip of paint stares back at me from my middle finger. A Tigger orange chip of paint.

I had to have been there. Did I spin with her or did I only push as she laughed and threw her head back to watch the sky spin above her?

I think to myself how I have to save this proof that I exist. I’ll get a piece of tape, collect this specimen that shows I touched the carousel, and secure it away somewhere safe.

By the time I find the tape, the chip of paint is nowhere to be found. It’s as lost as I am. There’s no proof that it ever existed.

There’s no proof that I am anyone.

I don’t need to save today’s photos. There’s nothing here to tell my story. There never is. Red shoes, herbs in an elevator carousel. That isn’t me.

I’m no one. I’m nothing. I’m a fresh blank slate each day, waiting to be scribbled on.

I don’t know when the scribbles will resolve into words. That’s okay. No one else knows either. Maybe I’m not that different after all. Or maybe I’m the only one who’s the same.

7 Comments on “Memories of Fog”

  1. You should do more writing challenges, April! The story was pretty scary in another way. I can’t imagine not being able to remember the things I’ve done plus images in my camera that I’ve never seen before.

  2. tigger62077 says:

    It’s not that you don’t remember your day, not really. A day is made up of so very many minutes and there’s no way we can remember all of them. You take pictures, as a snapshot of what you were doing when the desire struck. Does it matter in the long run? Probably not. You view your life through a camera lens the same way that authors do when they write or a person who draws does with their sketching. It’s not forgetting, it’s remembering! 😀

  3. Kate says:

    Wow, that was intense! You have a brilliant imagination.

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