I have been know to stroke the bones of memory myself, but commonly I forgot some details. Then something happens, like seeing a picture from the past, that jogs that memory, and the details come flooding back. Then I, like the elephant, remember everything.
Like for instance, a place in the picture I saw in my virtual world. It would be incongrous for the casual reader, but for me, it is a shock to the system, a visual reminder of a sweet moment in my lifetime. We were there, once, you and I, and under that waterfall you sang a song in my ear, a song that I have never been able to listen to since without my heart breaking, no breach in the wall that they put there it hasn't been able to pass through.
In that remembrance, history flows back uninvited and without warning. I remember everything about the weekend we spent there, starting with the beginning, with the book you read as you waited for me, a tire change in the rain on the side of the highway, the electic restaurant choice in Austin, even the rag I bought from the street pedaler down on Sixth Street. I remember making love under the stars on top of the vehicle when we finally arrived, and the words you murmured then that struck a chord in my soul. I remember stolen moments, such as a requested song on the guitar, the Patsy Cline tune that rolled across the lake from the tourist boat out on the water, the ham and cheese and croissants in the kitchen, the questions from the family, the boundaries crossed and uncrossed. I remember a walk outside at night, and how it struck me, that entity that lived and breathed around us, the realization that two people could create something that had a life of its own and was stronger than the individuals involved, that two could make One that was bigger and better, and almost palpable. I remember holding a hand as we drove, and looking over in disbelief that my hand was joined with one that belonged to such a marvelous creature, as you looked over and told me a story about an object made for me, a most beautiful object, and I could not believe that I could inspire one like you.
I remember getting lost on the way home, and ending up spending the night at another lake, holed up inside the car listening to cheesy love songs, and how we laughed at them and ourselves because they seem to be written for us, and how we made love during the night.
Oh yes, I remember everything. For years, I was tormented by those sweet memories. The torment caused a restlessness in my soul that I tried to soothe through various ways. I tried to fuck the memories out of my system, but the lovers were just a series of bandaids over a gushing artery. The relief was only temporary, and then I was back to the void inside.
I began to put a name on it, this terrible feeling of loss, and it almost became a living, breathing beast of a creature that lurked near my bed and inhabited my dreams at night. Life itself forced me to finally push those memories aside, for there was no other way to deal with them. It left an endelible mark on my soul, however, and will forever be a part of who I have become.
I think of the elephants I worked with, and my first exposure to the difference in free and protected contact. There was a "bad" elephant, who could only be worked with from behind bars and even then, only at a safe distance. She was prone to bursts of naughty behavior, which could be very dangerous as one would expect in an animal of her size. Even from behind the bars, one had to keep their distance. One time, the supervisor got too close, and was grabbed by this elephant's trunk and slammed against the bars, causing broken ribs.
One of the other keepers told me a little of her history. He had worked with her in the past, and then had returned to find her temperament and handling changed. He said that she used to be as friendly and trustworthy as the other elephant, whom was allowed to go on walks in the zoo, carry people on her back, and was handled freely and without fear by us. She had suffered badly at the hands of a mean keeper, though, in his absence. She never forgot, and it changed her inside. She developed nasty behaviors towards people, and could never be trusted again.
She never forgot how she was treated, and never really got over it, although she had learned to deal with it in some way. She did not show malicious behavior while I worked with her, but the threat was always under the surface, lurking, like the beast in my heart.
Although my memories are not maleovent like the elephant's in the story, they did keep me from being content in my life. For years, I ached from them, but time dulled the ages for a while, until I find myself in the elephant's graveyard of memories, stroking the bones and remembering the life they once possessed.
These bones, they hum Stone Roses.