by Katie | Writing | 2ktwelve.com

Forgetting the Flood - by Katie

"We, amnesiacs all, condemned to live in an eternally fleeting present, have created the most elaborate of human constructions, memory, to buffer ourselves against the intolerable knowledge of the irreversible passage of time and the irretrievability of its moments and events." *

You smashed that bottle out on cold concrete, three stories high and the glass shattered and the pieces bounced out and scattered northeast. You scattered along with them and you cut up the bottoms of your feet and you took to bed for months at a time. I did too but for different reasons, I tried to forget and undo and you, you were always creating. And then.

You gathered up and pieced together and tried to obliterate. When the rain came pouring and it dripped and echoed in dank mildewy stairways. Eventually the lights resumed their flickering and water trickled off exposed electrified wires into lakes on the carpet and that’s when you ran. You struggled toward the sun, plump couches and empty refrigerators and hanging plants and coats of paint. But the walls align too well with the molding in the ceiling and the floorboards are too perfectly parallel. When the perfection explodes and the walls collapse and become a carcass it stinks worse than the moldy lake-rugs and the entire notion of satisfaction is called into question and there is nowhere soon enough or whole enough and so you sit.

You gathered sit and you grasp and the liquor and the television and the laughing always masking and everything around you is cracking and I can hear it, the half-bottle remaining shining on the shelf. Running hot and clear and your throat is an aqueduct to your mind is a trap. You’ve forgotten who you are and who I am and the song you are singing. And you are singing off-key. And you have forgotten that you can’t sing.

And I try myself to piece that night when the moon howled and the half-bottle you ingested formed a pool inside you that you tried to crawl inside yourself and swim in. Tried to drown in just to forget. You were drying yourself off when I came upon the scene, and your hair was wet and messed, and gin-stained cheeks almost resembled tears but I didn’t mention that because I wanted to help you feel better and calling attention would only make it worse. Offering help would have been admission that something was wrong, an admission of worry, and that would only make it worse. And it couldn’t be worse because it was already the worst it had ever been.

And the shards have been swept up and the rain has washed away the remainder of the gin that you broke on the sidewalk in an attempt to forget your attempt at forgetting. And now the rain is the memory and the failure of forgetting the falling, its falling. It is falling. And the petrichor stinks like it was yesterday.


* The quote above is attributed to Geoffrey Sonnabend, who was an associate professor of neurophysiology at Northwestern University. He is most notably remembered for his three-volume work,
"Obliscence - Theories of Forgetting and the Problem of Matter", which explores the nature of memory and the process of forgetting. Sonnabend has contributed his efforts to the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, California. He is not a real person.