When I try to recall the events that happened in the past one year, or two years, it frightens me that I can no longer remember them with as much lucidity and vividness as I thought I could. They become scattered leaves, tangled strands of yarn where I could never distinguish where the ends lay and where new beginnings happened. Most of the times I’d just get the chronological order wrong- like I’d think what happened in November actually took place in January of that same year. Or I’d think that so-and-so joined us for a picnic in July when I only got to know her in August. Sometimes, I’ll only remember selected parts of the event, chunks gouged out crudely from a whole block of memories, and then when I piece these parts together they don’t make any sense.
When I do remember some parts, they are always inextricably linked to some strong emotion that we all shared. It will always start from that emotion, and it will spin outwards a web that links persons and places and activities together, so that I gradually recall parts of the event. Even if I cannot remember the when, where and who of events, feelings are not transient like technical details. It is not something that you can ‘forget’ with time- can you forget the triumph and joy when you win a competition with your team?- and it is not something that can be duplicated either.
The thing is that when I went through those fun and meaningful times with my friends, I never deliberately noticed or remembered every tiny detail that composed the scene. We were having too much of the times of our lives to stop and pay attention to the things that didn’t matter then. Who cared what we ate that day as long as we were happy? Or how the weather was like as long as it didn’t rain on our parade? Only when time has passed, and those old days became an aged photograph, coated with a fine layer of dust, do I wish that there was some physical proof of our camaraderie.
But I guess that the more we force ourselves to remember, the more we will forget. I believe that remembering that we were once happy together, or that we’d once suffered together, is more important than knowing the exact playback of events that caused us the joy or tears. After all, memory will fail me one day but feelings could never possibly be deleted.