What gives these moments, that particular brief scene, the longevity to become what we call up, when someone asks, "What is your earliest memory?" The further back you reach, the less pushing and shoving there is for what is sent forth, to play over again and again. The more your mind falls to a specific memory, the easier that same one will be the one that repeatedly surfaces by default.
I don't want that.
I don't want the automatic, to lose all of the other that I know I can remember if I work hard and intentionally dig through the mental films stowed away. I want to find those early memories before they disappear; I want to make them strong, so I have the beginning pages of my life.
I've been staying up late, while in bed, trying to go back and retrieve what happened in chapters one and two. It helps if I begin sorting through by calling up categories from the buried, long held closed drawers and drawers of what my eyes and ears and heart have been witness to. First pretty dress, first buckle shoes, first tricycle, first trip to the water. I begin with a roll call list of firsts, and the images timidly swim before my mind's eye, like a child peeking out from behind a curtain.
The memories are skittish, unsure if it's them I'm looking for, but over a few nights' time, they become confident--yes, they tell themselves, she wants us. I don't stay up to fight with them, to tell them they're not my choice of what I want to see. I let them decide. They tell me, this is what you asked for.
Something keeps these memories in my banks, it's the something that tells me these are mine.
I'm going to sit quietly again tonight, with the lights out, my fingers pressed against my eyes, while the called out images tentatively peer out, growing bolder as they sense my acceptance. It'll take awhile for them to believe that I'm happy to see them--they've stayed away because for so long that's what I told them to do; dismissing them as annoying, irritating, intruding.
I trust them now; these visual records. They are insightful, legitimate, as they wave before me like wisps. There is no weight of judgment that comes with their appearance. In the still night, I invitingly extend my long overdue hand out to them--praying they remember me. I am grateful they still recognize the girl who abandoned them--and that I am no longer a stranger.